The government on Wednesday successfully managed to get SNGPL managing director Arif Hameed removed through company’s powerful board of directors.

Arif Hameed had been removed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a couple of days back but Hameed had refused to surrender on the government notification and challenged his removal in the Lahore High Court (LHC). The court directed him to continue work and fixed his petition for hearing on Thursday (today).

However, he submitted his resign in the BoD meeting held at SNGPL head-quarter here on Wednesday. His resign, a day before hearing of his petition in the Lahore High Court seeking a verdict against his sacking, is a surprising move.

Earlier, the government had failed to topple Arif Hameed in the board meeting called by Secretary Ministry of Petroleum Arshad Mirza on September 11.

“Arif Hameed submitted his resign in BoD meeting as managing director of the SNGPL. Uzama Adil (company’s chief financial officer) has taken over the additional charge as company head,” said an official of the SNGPL while talking to The Nation on Wednesday. The SNGPL has not issued any official statement in this regard.

Sources said that the government was not in the mood to bring the company’s affairs in the court so special instructions were given to Saeed Mehdi (Chairman SNGPL BoD) for managing Arif’s removal through BoD members. Saaed Mehdi, the former bureaucrat and a key man of PML-N, succeeded in his task and got resignation from the MD, they added.

“Arif Hameed had termed his removal unconstitutional a few days back and went to the court. But yesterday he quietly quit. There is something wrong either with the company or with the government,” said the sources.

It is said the government asked Arif Hameed to surrender or be ready to face cases being constituted by the FIA on gas stealing and amassing wealth beyond means. Arif Hameed had been quoted by some TV channels as saying that he had been removed for not signing controversial LNG deal.