LAHORE - A citizen on Tuesday filed a petition in the Lahore High Court challenging establishment of Punjab Saaf Pani Company as well as 55 other public sector companies. He said the companies had been set up in violation of the Constitution.

Munir Ahmad, a local resident, has made 55 companies, including Punjab Saaf Pani Company, respondents in his petition besides the federal government, President’s Office, Prime Minister’s Office, Punjab governor, Punjab government, Chief Minister’s Office, NAB, FIA, Anti-Corruption Establishment, Auditor General of Pakistan and the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

Some identical petitions are already pending adjudication before various courts of the Lahore High Court.

The petitioner said the Punjab government established over 56 public sector companies nine years ago on the pretext of good governance. He said that over Rs 150 billion were spent on these companies. Actually this model of governance was the brainchild of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the petitioner said, adding that he was impressed by the Turkish model of governance. He said this was the reason that Turkish people were hired as consultants in various companies and now they were working in various mega projects. However, the Punjab government’s decision to set up companies faced a huge setback as all these public sector companies failed to perform their duties, the petitioner alleged.

He stated that just in 2016 the number of companies increased from six to 56. The petitioner submitted that no audit of these companies was carried out except one for performance by the auditor general of Pakistan and none of the companies was sharing their expense details with the Punjab Finance Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, he said. He said these companies did not publish any annual audit reports and officials of these companies had been drawing huge salaries besides many other perks and privileges. The petitioner said there was no record of Lahore, Faisalabad and Gujranwala’s Waste Management Companies. Moreover, Al-Burak and Azbak, Turkish companies, were awarded contracts by the provincial government in violation of merit, he claimed. He said public money was being wasted on these companies. He prayed to the court to set aside the public sector companies for being in violation of the Constitution.  Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah would take up the petition on Wednesday (today).