LAHORE: Under political pressure, the Punjab government allegedly named a ruling party worker as chairman of the Lahore Parking Company (LPC) Board of Directors, even without including the recommendation of the Special Monitoring Unit (SMU) of the Office of the Chief Minister in the procedure carried out for that reason.
Official sources reported that the CM’s SMU, headed by Economic Affairs, Planning and Growth Advisor Dr Salman Shah, recommended candidates for selection as four independent directors after carrying out a rigorous evaluative exercise, including thorough interviews, etc., in December last year, including one of them for the LPC BoD chairman slot to lead the business in the right direction
“As LPC directors, the names of Mr. Mohammad Maqbool (a professional in accounting and finance who was also recommended as chairman), Mr. Waseem Ashraf (HR), Mr. Moeen Sarwar (project management and business planner) and Mr. Shahrukh Jamal Butt (financial and entrepreneurial skills) were recommended,” reads a letter written by the SMU to the company’s CEO on 10 Dec. The current board, which also includes eight ex-officio members, will be responsible for shifting the company’s efficiency through the creation and execution of a holistic strategic strategy aimed at expanding parking facilities, enhancing sales generation, improving digitalization and automation, and reducing leaks and pilferage.’
The letter instructed the CEO of the LPC to forward the proposal for final approval and notification to the Municipal Corporation of Lahore (MCL) administrator.
On receiving this, the MCL released a notice announcing that at its November 2020 meeting, the LPC recommended nine practitioners to choose from for the four director positions.
The names of Abdul Karim Khan, Tariq Hameed, Wasif Waseem, Moeen Sarwar, Asim Qadri, Muhammad Maqbool, Sarah Naseem, Majid Rafiq and Shah Rukh Jamal were included in the proposal.
Via a notice, the MCL reported that the SMU told the LPC CEO that the recommendations had been made to form a board with a broad-based ability set in line with the requirements established by Dr. Salman Shah after conducting interviews with the applicants and in-depth assessment of their skills and experience.
“Mr Mohammad Maqbool, Wasif Waseem Ashraf, Moeen Sarwar and Shah Rukh Jamal are hereby appointed as LPC BoD directors in accordance with section 3.1 of the LPCL Article of Association,” the MCL letter reads.
Yet, oddly, Mr Maqbool’s recommendation as chairman of the BoD was not stated in the notification. An official source said, “It was allegedly done intentionally to coerce someone under political pressure.” And eventually, at its meeting on December 18, the Chairman’s (DC) LPC Board had Mr. Jamal voted unanimously by the management of the members,” he added.”
Lahore Deputy Commissioner Mudassir Riaz Malik, speaking to Dharti News, dispelled the perception and defended Mr Butt’s nomination as chairman, which was performed under the laws and regulations according to him.
No guidelines have been issued from the CM SMU, led by Dr Salman Shah. Moreover, as [LPC BoD] chairman, the SMU was not allowed to recommend anyone, he maintained. “No “political pressure” was also put on the board to appoint Mr Butt as chairman,” he added, demanding a copy of the recommendations from the SMU.
When the SMU letter was sent to him by this reporter, the DC said in his reply: “As discussed, I have made my point of view clear to you.” The new chairman was chosen according to the statute only after all formalities had been met. Four independent members were named by the MCL Administrator, one of whom was unanimously chosen by the Board. Any such approach that leads to the “selection” of the president by influence is deemed improper and unconstitutional. As required by statute, only the board may nominate a chairman.
When contacted, Mr Jamal, the newly named chairman, admitted that his name for the slot had been proposed by the late chief of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Naeemul Haq, long before the entire process of appointing the president of the LPC BoD.
As they all worked tirelessly for our party, we are the PTI workers. The race for the [LPC BoD] chairman’s slot had 15 candidates in it. But, because my suggestion was made by Mr Naeemul Haq, I finally got that role. In addition, even before the assessment process was started by the SMU, the Punjab chief minister had recommended me for this role, too, he admitted bluntly.
Mr. Jamal said he spent about two years working for the LPC. “I am the individual who completed this board to guide the business in the right direction,” he said. “My appointment as President was made entirely in accordance with the law,” he said.