ISLAMABAD  -   Government on Friday removed Utility Stores Corporation Managing Director Wajid Ali Swati, giving look after charge to Mushtaq Ahmed, Senior Joint Secretary Ministry of Industries and production.

According to sources, Swati has been removed after he refused to obey illegal demands of USC Board Chairman, Zulqarnanin Ali Khan, a close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan and PTI's Middle East financier.

The new Broad chairman has been trying to take control of the corporation, cashing his relations with prime minister, whereas as per law his post is more ceremonial then managerial.

The rift has been going on since prime minister appointed Zulqurnain chairman of the corporation last month, a senior official said. Federal Cabinet on November 5, 2018 through a notification constituted Board of Directors of Utility Stores Corporation with Zulqurnain as its chairman. Zulqurnain's name first surfaced when government suspended procurement at corporation and employees came on roads in protest. Zulqarnain remained present during the meetings between corporation employees and government.

The employees at that time alleged that prime minister want to sell the corporation to Zulqarnain, at peanuts in return of his all past services and financial support to the party. On the pressure of employees, government announced not privitising the corporation but some hinted a public-private partnership.

After the protests in October, government appointed Swati as MD and Khan as chairman.

Ministry of Industries official insisted that removal is a routine matter, but many insisted, the development is part of some agenda. “It is surprising, as Swati was performing well; he negotiated with the suppliers and many of the major vendors have resumed the supplies on Swati's assurance of clearing all payable,” a USC employee said, requesting anonymity.

He said Dalda, Colgate, Unilever, Colgate, Habib, Meezan, Coke, Nestle and many other brands has resumed the supplies which were suspended due to non-payment of dues.

The supplies have been restored after a partial payment and assurance of clearing dues in installments.

Employees believe the government is again leveling a field to sell certain shares of corporation to Zulqarnain, who is already running store chain in Middle East at throw away prices.

If sold, the new boss may fire the staff or deny their perks and benefits, they enjoy being a part of government organisation.