LAHORE -  A writ petition was filed in the Lahore High Court on Thursday challenging Punjab Chief Minister’s approval for converting Punjab Mineral Development Corporation into a private limited company.

Naveed Khan, a local lawyer, moved the petition through his counsel Advocate Ch Shoaib Saleem, and submitted that the high court has already been hearing petitions against 56 companies. He submitted that the Corporation established under The Punjab Minerals Development Corporation Act 1975, having more than 400 regular employees, never received any budget from the Punjab government since its inception, instead it is generating revenue for the government. Only during the financial year of 2016-17, the Corporation has paid sales tax of Rs 65.352 million, income tax of 16.886 million, EOBI Rs 3.104 million and royalty of Rs 30.274 to the provincial government, he said.

He further said that the Punjab chief minister approved the conversion of the Corporation into a private limited in a meeting held on 27 October, 2017, just to accommodate his cronies and favorite bureaucrats as head of the companies who are already being paid in millions. The counsel further said

 That Auditor General of Pakistan has the constitutional mandate of conducting audit of state-owned organizations but companies registered with the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has to get them audited internally by hiring some private audit firm which has limited the constitutional scope of Auditor General of Pakistan.

Wastage of public money on the constitution of Punjab public companies has also marred the real concept of democracy which provides a social justice and facilities to the public at large, he said.

The petitioner prayed the court to declare the conversion of Corporation into a private limited company as illegal and violative to the constitutional scheme and The Punjab Mineral Corporation Act 1975. The petition will be taken up by Justice Shahid Karim today (Friday).

Ends/ Dec 7-2017- FIDA