–Port and Shipping Minister Ali Zaidi removed Jamil Akhtar after he allegedly refused to grant a contract for a mega project to minister’s blue-eyed company
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday maintained its stay order till April 16, against the removal of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Chairman Jameel Akhter from his post and sought reply from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah conducted the hearing on a petition moved by the KPT chairman against his removal by the ministry.
At the outset of the hearing, Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar appeared before the bench on behalf of the federation and pleaded that there were two notifications for the appointment of the chairman. The appointment tenure was two year in accordance of first notification of 2017.
The chief justice remarked that whether the federal minister concerned was authorised to interfere in the affairs of appointment. He further noted that it was an admitted fact that this appointment was made for a period of three years.
The officials of the maritime ministry adopted the stance that Federal Minister Ali Zaidi had ordered for an audit into the department. Under which law this order was given, retorted the IHC CJ.
Justice Minallah said that the ministry was giving baseless arguments, adding that most of the cases of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) were related to misuse of powers. He asked the ministry to review the matter.
The court sought written comments from secretary ministry and federal minister pertaining to the matter and adjourned the hearing of the case till April 16.
According to media reports, Federal Minister for Port and Shipping Ali Zaidi pushed for the removal of KPT Chairman Jamil Akhtar after the latter allegedly refused to grant a contract for a mega project to the minister’s blue-eyed company.
Speaking on a Din TV show, journalist Mumtaz Bhatti claimed that Zaidi wanted the former KPT chairman to award the contract to MIBT, a company owned by the friend of the shipping minister, for $70 million. Akhtar refused and told the minister that the contract will only be awarded via standard bidding procedure.
However, in the bidding process, a company named RAMD made a bid of $13-15m for the same task which the MIBT had asked $70m for, he claimed.
Subsequently, Zaidi allegedly got the finance director removed, but that didn’t work out. Eventually, Zaidi in connivance with a secretary and his ‘friend’ in Islamabad sent the chairman of the KPT packing.
The federal government removed Akhtar from the post of the chairman on March 25 with immediate effect.