LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday gave last opportunity to the secretary local government and members Punjab assembly to submit their replies in a petition challenging the appointment of 12 MPAs as directors of different five public sector companies.

Hearing the case filed by Opposition leader Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi expressed dismay over non-submission of reply by the respondents.

The petitioner’s counsel, Sheraz Zaka, argued that MPA Ramazan Siddique Bhatti was working as one of the directors of Lahore Transport Company; MPAs Nasreen Nawaz, Ramzan Siddique Bhatti, and Kiran Dar were working as directors of Lahore Parking Company; MPAs Kashif Padhiar, Aman Ullah Khan, Qazi Adnan Fareed, Rana Baber Hussain, Ch Lal Hussain, Mahmood Qadir Khan, Qamar-ul-Islam, and Waheed Gull were working as directors of Punjab Saaf Pani Company; MPA Majid Zahoor was working as director of Lahore Waste Management Company; while MPA Hussain Jahania Gardezi was functioning as one of the directors of Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company.

The counsel stated that these five government-owned companies were incorporated under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984, and are being regulated under Public Sector Companies Corporate Governance Rules 2013. The lawyer further said that these MPAs were functioning as directors of different public sector companies in violation of section 3(7) of Public Sector Companies Corporate Government Rules 2013.

According to this provision, 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 maintained.

He further said these 12 elected public representatives in Punjab Assembly were simultaneously functioning as directors of the companies which are controlled by Punjab government, as such their functioning as board of directors is illegal and void.

The counsel told the court that the MPAs were not performing their statutory obligations. They had started interfering into public offices and thus, political interference had badly affected the working of these companies, he held.

“The affairs of these companies should have been administered on transparent and fairness basis but actually the affairs of these companies are tainted with malpractices,” Mr Zaka stated.

He argued that MPAs cannot be part of public sector offices as it is violation of rules and relevant laws. “Public Sector Companies Corporate Governance Rules 2013 do not allow any legislator to work as director of any public sector company or office.”

He requested the court to issue directions for implementation on Public Sector Companies Corporate Governance Rules 2013. He also asked the court to order Punjab chief secretary, Local Government ministry and the companies to abstain from appointing any member having a political or any legislative role and also to declare the exercise of authority by these MPAs as directors illegal, null and void.

The judge adjourned further hearing until April 22.