National Electric Power Regulatory Authoritys building. — APP/File

Centre-Punjab rifts deepen over Nepra legal member’s appointment

by Pakistan News
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National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s building. — APP/File
  • Punjab nominates Amina Ahmed as Nepra’s legal member. 
  • Central govt objects to PTI govt’s decision. 
  • Federal govt wants to nominate candidate having relevant experience.

ISLAMABAD: The disagreement between the federal and Punjab governments intensified following the PTI government’s decision to nominate Amina Ahmed as National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (Nepra) legal member.

The decision has been taken despite the central government’s objections to it, a senior official privy to the development told The News. It added that it may appoint member Punjab on its own in the light of the NEPRA Amended Act.

The same name was forwarded on March 31, 2022, to the Cabinet Division on the top of the panel of three candidates by the earlier PTI government in Punjab, headed by the-then Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.

At that time, the federal government rejected the name of Amina Ahmed and directed the Punjab government to nominate a suitable candidate having power sector relevant experience.

The federal government had also pointed out that “her credentials are not such that she should be appointed as member Nepra Punjab. This requires not just the legal experience but also knowledge of the regulatory practices and power sector in specific.”

Now the newly-installed PTI government in Punjab, led by Chief Minister Pervez Elahi, again nominated her as a legal member from Punjab. Nepra is without the representation of the province since March 2021. “This has annoyed the central government.”

In the latest letter written on September 28, 2022, to the secretary of the Cabinet Division, the Punjab government gave only one name for the appointment as a member of the regulator instead of sending a panel of three candidates. 

In the letter, it has been mentioned that Amina is a Juris Doctor in Axis law Chambers and she is again nominated as the legal member from Punjab in Nepra. 

“It’s a compromised decision and will only benefit the government appointing it with no due process followed. Hence the federal government may not approve her recommendation from Punjab,” the top official said.

When contacted, the Punjab government said Amina is a Juris Doctor and has required experience in corporate law, deeming her competent enough to represent Punjab in the regulator as a legal member. It added this is the reason the provincial government has re-nominated her for the post of member Nepra.

Under the provision of the Amended Nepra law, he said, the member law shall be a person holding a degree in the field of corporate and economic law and is a professional of known integrity and eminence with a minimum of 12 years of related experience in the field of corporate law and economic law and shall be nominated by the provinces or the federal government.

Since the PTI government in Punjab, the official said, has sent the same name twice despite the fact that the federal government has rejected it. 

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