- Counsel says govt avoids proper selection process to appoint Tariq Bajwa’s as central bank’s head
ISLAMABAD: As many as 23 senators have moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the appointment of the new governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), accusing the government of ruthless violation of the legal requirements and procedures in making the appointment.
Senators Taj Haider, Farhatullah Babar, Sassi Palijo, Azam Swati, Khushbakht Shujaat, Farooq H Naek, Ilyas Bilour and 16 others have asked the court to declare Tariq Bajwa’s appointment unlawful and refrain him from performing duties and order the return of benefits.
The petitioners, through their counsel Sardar Latif Khosa, have also sought the court’s directions for the government to appoint a new SBP governor following the constitutional process laid down by the Supreme Court in several cases.
The petitioners have submitted that the unique and specialised character and functions of SBP require the appointment of the best available, competent and experienced person through open advertisement, and this was the only way to preserve the autonomous status of the institutions as well as to ensure its effectiveness.
“Selection of the best person for the job, with the right qualifications and experience, has been ignored in the present case,” the counsel argued in the petition. “The government has all along indulged in ruthless violation of the legal requirements and procedures in making appointments and filling vacancies in all the key positions of the state department and institutions.”
The counsel said that such methodology was consciously adopted to use them for their personal benefits, self-aggrandizement and extract illegal work. “Head of the SECP is an example in hand who under orders of the Supreme Court is … facing criminal charges,” he added.
He argued in the petition that the impugned appointment in view of the submissions was illegal, unjustified, whimsical and of no legal effect and that a resolution was also moved in the Senate by the combined opposition for the immediate removal of the SBP governor.
In response to the resolution, the Ministry of Finance issued a statement saying there was no violation of the State Bank Act, 1956. The statement said that Bajwa reached his superannuation and retired from civil service on June 18 and was appointed as the SBP governor by the president on July 7.
It said that several civil servants had been appointed as the SBP governor in the past after retirement. Khosa said that the statement did not address the real question raised by the senators that the appointment was in gross violations of law, and proper selection process was not followed.
Besides, there was lack of transparency in the selection process as explained by the superior courts, he added. The petitioners have requested the court to declare Bajwa’s appointment illegal and direct the government to appoint a new governor as envisaged in the Supreme Court’s judgments.