LAHORE - A division bench of the Lahore High Court on Thursday stopped National Accountability Bureaus Punjab director general, Rana Zahid Mehmood, from performing his services as the Bureaus DG. Earler during the hearing, the petitioners counsel Azhar Saddique informed the court that Zahid Mehmood was exerting undue influence on the Canal Motors case and, therefore, no progress could be made in the matter for last one year and a half. The two-member bench comprising Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan and Justice Sheikh Ahmad Farooq passed the above orders against a civil miscellaneous application which was filed by one Shah Faisal in connection with a pending petition challenging the appointment of Mr Zahid. He said that contract of Rana Zahid was expired on April 21, 2011 and a petition in this regard challenging the appointment of the NAB DG was laying pending for last three months, with no reply from the government as well as NAB. As Deputy Attorney General Ashraf Khan submitted reply on behalf of the law ministry that the federal government had so far not given extension to the contract of Rana Zahid after his services expiry as DG NAB (Pb) on April 21. NABs counsel Bashir Ahmad and respondents counsel Asad Manzoor Butt told the court that the slot of the chairman NAB was vacant and the deputy chairman had delegated his powers to the director (HR) NAB who had granted extension to Rana Zahid so that he could continue performing his duties. The counsel for the NAB, Bashir Ahmad, as well as respondents counsel Asad Manzoor also told the court that NAB deputy chairman had delegated his powers to the NAB HR director who had given extension to Rana Zahid for performing his duties as DG till further orders, because the slot of the NAB chairman is so far lying vacant, the counsels said. Rana Zahid also told the court that HR director had granted him extension to continue as DG, as he also stated that he knew that NAB chairman enjoyed powers to appoint the NAB DG. But Azhar Saddique, the counsel of petitioner argued that deputy chairman could exercise his powers when NAB chairman had been appointed and he could not perform his duties on account of disease or other problems. He submitted that only NAB chairman could extend contract or appoint any eligible person for the said post as per NAB rules, and therefore the extension granted to Rana Zahid was a violation of the law as the slot of the chairman was lying vacant so far. Justice Sheikh Farooq asked the Rana Zahid to explain the matter of his continual of services as DG whether he got his contract as extended after its expiry on April 21 or he had got new orders (contract), on which he replied and submitted that a summary in this regard had been moved to the Prime Minister but no notification had been issued also. After hearing the detailed arguments of the parties, the LHC bench accepting the civil miscellaneous application restrained Rana Zahid from performing his duties as the DG, and the bench directed the counsels to argue on the case on next hearing. The bench was hearing a petition and civil miscellaneous applications, filed by Shah Faisal Farooq in which he submitted that Rana Zahid Mehmood, a former judge of the LHC, was appointed as NABs acting DG for Punjab on contract, in violation of rules and regulations after his removal from the judiciary following a apex court verdict on a plea of the Sindh High Court Bar Association. As petitioner contended that Supreme Court had also announced the contract based appointment against the law and Constitution and therefore, the appointment was also falling in the violation of the SC decision. He submitted that Rana Zahid Mehmood is a close relative of Rana Qaisar Nazir, an accused in the Canal Motors case, which is being under probe of NAB also. He alleged that Rana Zahid Mehmood while exercising his influence in the matter had removed the investigation officer Rana Waqas Ahmad who conducted the investigation on merit, and declared Rana Qaiser Nazir and others guilty. He said that the matter was reported to the NAB chairman and the Inspector General of Police Punjab through various applications but to no avail. The petitioner pleaded the court to declare the appointment of Rana Zahid Mehmood as illegal and pass directions to hand over the investigation in the case to the IO. Rana Waqas, the petitioner, through civil miscellaneous applications, also prayed the court to restrain NAB director general (Punjab) Rana Zahid Mahmood from functioning due to the illegalities he committed during pendency of the case, and expiry of his contract.