ISLAMABAD -  As many as 23 Senators belonging to opposition parties Friday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court challenging the appointment of Tariq Bajwa as Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The petitioners moved the petition through their counsel Sardar Latif Khosa Advocate and nominated Government of Pakistan through Secretary Finance and Tariq Bajwa Governor SBP as respondents.

The petitioners stated that they are aggrieved with the unlawful appointment of Governor SBP made on July 7, 2017 for a period of three years. They adopted that in terms of section 3(2) of SBP ACT, 1956, the bank is a body corporate “by the name of State Bank of Pakistan, having perpetual succession and a common seal, and shall by the said name sue and be sued.”

The senators added that the Governor of SBP as per section 10(1) of the SBP Act is the chief executive officer and on behalf of the Board of Directors, direct and control the whole affairs of the Bank.

They said in the petition that though no qualification criteria is laid down in the SBP Act for the appointment of Governor, yet his functions and duties as per section 9A and provision of SBP Act require educational qualification, practical knowledge, competence and experience.

The petitioners contended that the unique and specialised character of SBP required appointment of best available competent and experienced person through open advertisement as its governor. “This is the only way to preserve the autonomous status of the institution as well to ensure its effectiveness,” they said.

They argued that the selection of the best person for the job, with the right qualifications and experience, has been ignored in the present case. “The Government of PML-N has all along indulged in ruthless violation of the legal requirements and procedures in making appointments and filling vacancies in all the key positions of state department and institutions. Such methodology was consciously adopted to use them for their personal benefits self-aggrandizement and extract illegal works. The head of SECP is an example in hand who under orders of the Supreme Court is behind the bars facing criminal charges,” the petitioners added.

Senators contended that the appointment in view of above submissions is illegal, unjustified, void ab-initio, whimsical, capricious, arbitrary, without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

They continued that a resolution was moved in Senate by combined opposition for immediate removal of the SBP Governor. The senators who signed the resolution included Taj Haider, Azam Swati, Rubina Khalid, Kamil Ali Agha, Shibli Faraz, Nighat Mirza, Maulana Tanvirul Haq Thanvi, Sehar Kamran, Daud Achakzai, Rozi Khan Kakar, Saifullah Magsi, Shahi Syed, Ahmad Hassan and Saeedul Hassan Mandokhail.

The petition quoted the resolution as saying: “This House recommends that the SBP Governor should be removed immediately from his office as the letter and spirit of section 10 of SBP Act 1956, dealing with qualification of the governor had been violated.”

They further argued that the appointment is violative of Article 4 and 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan and many other provisions of law and the Constitution of Pakistan.

Therefore, they prayed to the court to declare the said appointment of Tariq Bajwa as unlawful and void ab-initio. They requested the court to refrain him from performing his duties and functions under the SBP Act with immediate effect.

They further requested the court to direct the government to appoint new Governor SBP following the constitutional process and criterion laid down by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.