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Govt names new NTDC directors after six months of botched attempt

ISLAMABAD: After two unsuccessful attempts, the government has finally reconstituted the board of directors of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), sending home all the previous independent members and changing a few public servants.
In January this year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif intervened from Davos, Switzerland, to reverse a decision of the Ministry of Water and Power to dissolve NTDC’s board of directors, blaming members for repeated national power breakdowns.
Even an earlier notification by the ministry to terminate chairman and a few board members was overturned by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in July 2015 in a landmark decision, which held government interference in the affairs of the company as illegal.
This time, however, the ministry waited for the term of the board to expire and in their place appointed new members. None of the previous members was considered for reappointment. Secretary water and power did not respond to calls for comment.
In an official order, the ministry notified the reconstitution of the 10-member NTDC board of directors. Six new independent members include Babar Iqbal, Ajmal Jamil, Ghiasuddin Ahmed, Mahfooz Pasha, Wazir Ali Bhayo and Nasir Gulzar.
A power ministry official said none of the new members of the board were known to senior officers except Mr Ahmed, who was a former federal secretary and remained member of the power regulator on Balochistan’s nomination.
Four public sector members on the board include additional secretary power Omer Rasul, joint secretary transmission Zafar Abbas, Managing Director of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board Shah Jehan Mirza and Managing Director of the NTDC Dr Fayyaz Chaudhry. The two constants in the board were Mr Rasul and Mr Mirza, who also represented the government in the previous board.
The power ministry said the notification came into effect immediately and would remain in place “until further orders”. An official explained that it was against the spirit of the governance code of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to appoint someone on the board on temporary “until further orders” basis instead of a full term.
He, however, said the ministry had already moved a case for amendment to the legal instruments to do away with the security of term and instead appoint members and keep them at the pleasure of the government.
In January this year, the ministry moved a summary to the prime minister secretariat seeking to dissolve the existing board of directors and replace them with new members and also to replace the then NTDC chief Mohammad Arshad Chaudhry. The Prime Minister’s Secretariat had even conveyed clearance to issue announcement for the reshuffle, but was put on hold on premier’s intervention because of a media furore.
The previous board included Waqar Zikriya as chairman and seven other members, including Almas Haider, Asjad Imtiaz Ali (chairman of Flood Commission), Shahjehan Mirza (PPIB’s managing director), Arshad Chaudhry, Mohsin M. Syed, advocate Babar Sattar and Umar Rasool.



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