Centre, Punjab ordered to submit replies over MPAs’ appointment to public firms

* LHC seeks assistance from attorney general and Punjab advocate general over establishment of the companies

Centre, Punjab ordered to submit replies over MPAs’ appointment to public firms

LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Tuesday sought replies from the federal and the Punjab governments on a petition challenging constitution of public sector companies and appointment of some members of the Punjab Assembly there.

The chief justice also directed the LHC Office to fix all connected petitions and directed the attorney general of Pakistan and the Punjab advocate general to appear on January 30 for assistance.

Advocate Sheraz Zaka had challenged formation of public sector companies, including the Punjab Saaf Pani Company, Lahore Waste Management Company, Lahore Transport Company, Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company and the Lahore Parking Company, by the provincial government.

The petitioner said that the non-trading companies restricted to one province could be formed only by a provincial law as stated in the fourth schedule of the constitution. He asserted that it was the federal subject and the provincial government could not be established these companies under the Companies Ordinance 1984.

The chief justice observed that if the formation of these public sector companies were declared unconstitutional then the members of provincial assembly serving in the companies would also be restrained from working.

Meanwhile, Judge Ali Akbar Qureshi is also hearing a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader in Punjab assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed against MPAs appointment to the public sector companies.

He had submitted that MPA Ramazan Siddique Bhatti was functioning as one of the directors of the Lahore Transport Company; MPAs Nasreen Nawaz, Ramzan Siddique Bhatti, and Kiran Dar as directors of the Lahore Parking Company; MPAs Kashif Padhiar, Amanullah Khan, Qazi Adnan Fareed, Rana Baber Hussain, Ch Lal Hussain, Mahmood Qadir Khan, Qamarul Islam and Waheed Gull as directors of Punjab Saaf Pani Company; MPA Majid Zahoor as one of the directors of Lahore Waste Management Company and MPA Hussain Jahania Gardezi as one of the directors of the Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company.

He submitted that these five companies were incorporated under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984 and these companies are owned by the Punjab government, which are regulated under the Public Sector Companies Corporate Governance Rules 2013. He said that these MPAs were functioning as directors of five different public sector companies in violation of section 3(7) of Public Sector Companies Corporate Government Rules 2013.

He had said that as per the rules no person having a political or legislative role could become a director of a company governed by Public Sector Companies Corporate Governance Rules 2013. He said that these 12 were already members of the Punjab Assembly and at the same time simultaneously also functioning as directors of the companies controlled by the Punjab government.

He had pleaded that the MPAs had failed to perform their statutory obligations and their functioning in these companies have brought political interference, lack of transparency and conflict of interest. He said that the affairs of these companies should have been administered on transparent and fairness basis but actually the affairs of these companies were tainted with malpractices.

He requested the court to issue directions to implement the Public Sector Companies Corporate Governance Rules 2013, which do not allow any legislator to work as a director. He also requested the court that the federal law ministry, the chief secretary Punjab and companies be abstained from appointing any member having a political or any legislative role and also to declare the exercise of authority by the MPAs as directors illegal, null and void.