Run for top slot leaves Lesco powerless

Lesco powerless
Lahore High Court

LAHORE: Despite the Lahore High Court’s order, the in-house controversies that who will run the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) affairs are intensifying as no one knows who is the current CEO of the country’s top power distribution company.

According to details, the Lahore High Court on Tuesday suspended the notification appointing Zia Latif as Lesco CEO but it was still unclear that whether his was continuing his job or not. The water and power ministry on September 3 had issued the notification for the appointment of Zia Latif as company chief on interim basis. Earlier, the government on June 21 had granted ‘extension in service till further order’ to Sharafat Sial’s tenure as Lesco chief clearly violating the Supreme Court’s order.

Sial’s extension notification read that he would continue his job until the appointment of  the regular CEO. But the ministry on September 3 appointed Zia without mentioning his job status. Sial then went to the court and filed a writ petition challenging the appointment  of Zia.   Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan issued the order on a writ petition and suspended Zia Latif’s appointment. But the controversies were still there in the Lesco. It as been learnt that Zia went to Islamabad on Thursday to meet the power minister while Sial was already there in ‘power houses’ of the federal capital.

The company’s spokesman, on the other side, was mum to clarify the matter. Interestingly, the Lesco Board of Directors (BoDs) to whom the government had empowered to appoint the company chief was helpless and it exists only on papers. “The government had notified the econstitution of BoDs of eight power distribution companies including the Lesco,” said sources, adding the government, then, had advised all the CEOs of power sector distribution companies as well as NTDC to obtain consent of each nominated director and fulfil all codal formalities under the Companies Act – 1984 for convening the Board.

However, they said, the ground reality was that the BoD only exist on papers and the situation could be gauged through the fact that 48 resolutions of Lesco BoDs which suggest reforms in company’s various units are lying pending. “Cold war among the top officials of the Lesco, political interference are badly devastating the power distribution company leaving the millions of its consumers in lurch,” sources said. “The country’s top DISCO, at time is running without a permanent chief who can confidently run the affairs of the Lesco. At present, there are two major groups in the Lesco. One group is backing Sharafat Sial and other is with Zia Latif,” the sources added.