Govt sends packing Wapda, Pemra chiefs

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government has sent packing Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Syed Raghib Abbas Shah, apparently as part of its efforts to rid the country of crippling energy crisis, and appointed a retired bureaucrat, Zafar Mehmud, as new chairman of the authority.
In July 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had hinted at relieving Raghib Shah ‘very soon’, stating that the people like him were “responsible for the ongoing energy crisis in the country.” 
Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had appointed Raghib Shah as Wapda chairman in September 2012. 
Nine months after that indication, the PML-N government has finally sought resignation from Raghib Shah. However, well-paced official sources say, the government’s move to appoint Zafar Mehmood as 21st Wapda chairman may trigger fresh controversy among the federation, and Punjab and Sindh Provinces.
The sources told Daily Times that the prime minister had accepted Raghib Shah’s resignation. Sources also said that Shah had tended resignation after facing “incessant pressure” from a top man of the incumbent dispensation.
“The prime minister’s blue-eyed boy, Zafar Mehmud, is the new Wapda chief,” a senior official at the Water and Power Ministry said on the condition of anonymity. “Irony is that instead of appointing a water and power expert, the government has appointed a former bureaucrat from the District Management Group (DMG) to the topmost lucrative slot of Wapda chief,” he said.
Zafar Mehmud has worked as Water and Power secretary, principal secretary to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Punjab Public Service Commission chairman.
Since Wapda’s establishment in 1958, Raghib Shah was the first ever official with domicile of Sindh Province who was appointed authority’s Member (Water) in 2008. Previously, this prestigious post had largely gone to professionals belonging to Punjab or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provinces. Only once a member was appointed from Balochistan Province.
Meanwhile, President Mamnoon Hussain has also removed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman Chaduhry Rashid due to reasons not known so far.

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