ISLAMABAD: The race for the National Bank of Pakistan’s (NBP) top post is gaining momentum amid reports that the leading contenders enjoy political backing, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The momentum reached a climax last week, when the acting NBP president, Asif Hassan, reportedly wrote to the finance ministry that he was unable to perform his duty as he felt that important issues were going unresolved.

Some leading contenders on the official list reportedly
have political backing, claimed senior officials

NBP senior officials told The Express Tribune that six of the 50 applicants for the post of president are currently employed at the bank and four of them have worked there in the past. As NBP continues to act as trustee of public funds, some senior officials are facing corruption inquiries as reported irregularities have brought the bank under scrutiny. In 2011, the Supreme Court dismissed former NBP president Ali Raza for illegal appointment.

Some leading contenders on the official list reportedly have political backing, claimed senior officials. These contenders applied for the post in response to an advertisement by the Finance Division months back, they said.

Interestingly, Dr Asif Brohi, the most senior officer of the NBP, did not apply for the post as he was reportedly forced to go on a six-month leave in September this year. The acting president, Asif Hassan, also did not apply.

The finance division has already requested the establishment division (ED) through a letter titled F.No3 (14) Bkg-III/2013 that a federal commission be established for selection of the heads of public sector organisations. The finance division also informed the establishment division that it approved service regulations, job description and applications received against the posts of NBP president on October 7 this year, it added.

The head of the NBP Board of Directors Muneer Kamal, who was appointed to the post by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government three and a half months ago, is also among the top contenders for the post.

The list further reveals that Senior Executive Vice President Dr Mirza Abrar Baig, 64, has also applied for this post. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year initiated an inquiry against irregularities committed by Dr Mirza Abrar Baig in the NBP in the name of streamlining the bank’s operations.

Senior executive vice president, 58-year-old Ziaullah Khan, who also reportedly has political connections, is running for this high-profile job along with senior executive vice presidents, Kausar Iqbal Malik, 55, and Imam Bux Baloch, 61. Arbab Dilawar, 28, MBA banking, also applied for NBP president.

One of the contenders, 34-year-old Zubia Hanif from the Bank of Punjab, who has submitted her application for the post of NBP president, reportedly has links with the Punjab government. An Information Technology Manager, Sohail Younus, 37, also applied for this post.

Interestingly, Dr Mansoor Ahmed, a doctor by profession with no banking experience, has applied for the job.

NBP spokesperson Syed Ibne Hassan said there is no such development in the appointment of the new president as the matter is with the finance division. In response to a question, he said that he was not aware of any such statement “the acting president is unable to deliver his services.”

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