The Punjab government is reluctant to change the Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority (PAPA) chairman who continues to work in the position despite the expiry of his tenure.
Dr. Shakeel Khan was appointed as PAPA chairman in September 2020 for the period of one year, which ended in September 2021. According to the Aab-e-Pak Authority Act, 2019 governing body of the authority will elect its chairman for the tenure of one year.
Section 8 of this act states that the chairman will be elected from amongst the non-official members of the body for a non-extendable tenure of one year while the incumbent would perform such functions as may be entrusted to him by the governing body from time to time.
Sources informed that after his tenure expired, Dr. Shakeel managed to continue in the position without any legal cover. In a bid to provide him legal cover, they said that the then Governor Punjab Chaudhary Sarwar issued an ordinance PAPA (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 on January 7 this year, but it lapsed due to non-approval by the cabinet committee within the due time of 90 days.
In the ordinance, the governor desired to amend Section 8 of the Act to extend the term of the chairman from one-year non-extendable to two years extendable.
Sources said that this ordinance was issued by the former governor just to oblige Dr. Shakeel.
According to the Act, other than the completion of the tenure, the government may, if it considers expedient to do so, remove any non-official member of the Authority without assigning any reason.
Talking to Minute Mirror, Dr. Shakeel said that his case for the extension was pending in the previous cabinet but he does not know its current status. He said that he remains loyal to his responsibilities and was performing his duties up to the mark.
“I am working here on a voluntary basis and nobody should be concerned whether my term was extendable or not,” Shakeel said. He further said that he will be holding the office till the government desires his expertise.
On a question, he said that all the administrative decisions were being taken by PAPA CEO Zahid Aziz.