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Islamabad High Court Says Minister Ali Zaidi Misused Powers

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Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi has misused his powers in appointing an audit firm for the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), observed Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday.

According to a news report published in DAWN, Chief Justice IHC Athar Minallah heard the petition filed by retired Rear Admiral Jameel Akhtar against the termination of his service as KPT chairman. Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar, who appeared on behalf of the federation, argued before the court that as per notification for the appointment of Jameel Akhtar, he was appointed KPT chairman for two years in 2017, adding that his term had already expired.

However, the IHC chief justice pointed out that the record showed otherwise. He said that the summary and approval and another notification was made by the federal cabinet for three years. “Why is Ali Zaidi interfering in Karachi Port Trust’s affairs. Under what authority of law, private auditors and the fee can be authorised by the ministry,” the court questioned.

The court directed the additional attorney general to satisfy this court as to how private auditors could be appointed when even forensic audit could have been conducted through the Auditor General of Pakistan.

Mr Akhtar was appointed KPT chairman by the PML-N government on Nov 23, 2017, for three years. The federal government had removed him from the post citing ‘irregularities in KPT’.

The judge, after hearing Khokhar’s arguments, ordered that the learned additional attorney general could not satisfy this court that allegations of irregularities could be raised on the basis of an audit which has not been completed. Subsequently, the court sought a detailed reply from the secretary and the minister for maritime affairs. Further hearing was adjourned to April 16.

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