The Supreme Court summoned NAB to probe into the appointment of Managing Director (MD) of Pakistan State Oil Imran ul Haque on Saturday.
As the apex court resumed hearing a petition regarding petroleum prices and the imposition of additional taxes, Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan submitted a report on the quality and import of petroleum products. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar ordered the National Accountability Burea (NAB) to also apprised the court of its probe into Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Observing the irregularities in the government’s operations, the top judge remarked that it was the way of the state to set up private companies and hire people of their choice to benefit them.
During the hearing in a dialogue with the PSO MD, the chief justice remarked, “Why shouldn’t you be suspended?”
“When and on whose suggestion were you appointed?” Justice Nisar questioned Haque. The latter then responded that he was appointed in 2015 on the suggestion of the then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif. “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had appointed me on the suggestion of the committee,” Haque informed the court, adding that he was selected from the six candidates finalised by the then-government.
In response to the PSO MD’s statement, the chief justice remarked that Haque had no prior experience of the petroleum sector. “Let’s ask a national agency to probe into your appointment,” Justice Nisar remarked. He further suggested that the auditor general conduct PSO’s audit. “What is this disorder in the country to waste tax revenues?” the chief justice questioned. “How can a Grade 22 employee drawing between Rs0.2-0.25 million be appointed as the MD on a salary of Rs0.4 million?”
Haque then responded that when he took charge of the state-owned petroleum corporation, PSO’s profit was Rs 6 billion. “I drove the company’s profit up to Rs 18 billion,” he apprised the court.
After ordering the anti-graft body to probe into Haque’s appointment, the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing till 1.30pm..—INP