Mir Shahjahan Khetran MD PTDC sent packing home

Eurasia News

Islamabad: The federal government has terminated the contract of Mir Shahjahan Khetran as Managing Director PTDC. The Dispatch News Desk (DND) reported today.

The government has also ordered to hold an enquiry fix responsibility on how he was posted or appointed as MD PTDC after he contested elections from Balochistan Assembly seat from Barkhan.

It is not our of place to mention here that on 6th April 2013, the Election Commission (ECP) had received an application against Mir Shahjahan Khetran, managing director of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), stating that in spite of being the head of a government organisation, Mr Khetran had filed his nomination papers to contest election for a provincial assembly seat (PB 17, Barkhan) from Balochistan.

The complainants had accused Mr Khetran of using government vehicles and other resources for his election campaign.  The application was filed by Majid Yaqub, Ramzan Mirza, Qamar Zaman and Nadeem Bukhari. One of the complainants, Mr Mirza, referred to rules which bar a person serving in a government department from contesting election. “Mr Khetran visits his office regularly and has been handling all functions of the department,” he added.

Another complainant, Mr Yaqub, had said if Mr Khetran was allowed to contest election, he would be able to use his position for influencing results. He alleged that Mr Khetran was appointed as managing director of PTDC in 2011 on political grounds. He is younger brother of Mir Baaz Khetran, CEC of Pakistan Peoples Party.

The ECP had not taken any action on the complaint and allowed Mr. Khetran to contest election from PB 17 as independent candidate. Khurshid Alam, the deputy director of ECP’s public relations, said sometimes candidates succeeded in filing nomination papers without mentioning their occupations but their papers were rejected after scrutiny. He secured 5,730 votes being on the third position. His wife, Shazia Shahjahan Khetran was also an independent candidate from the same constituency.

An enquiry into alleged corruption and fraudulent appointments made by Mir Shahjahan Khetran during his two years tenure as Managing Director PTDC shall also be conducted.

PTDC Employees on strike against non-payment of salaries for over 12 months.
PTDC Employees on strike against non-payment of salaries for over 12 months.

The Employees of PTDC have been on a strike for the last 12 days against non-payment of their salaries for over one year during the tenure of Mir Shahjahan Khetran. The employees had been demanding removal of  the termination of PTDC Managing Director Mir Shahjahan Kethran and the 1,100 new appointments he made ‘illegally’ since 2010, despite a ban imposed by the government appointments in the organization to be devolved to the provinces. Total strength of PTDC employees, before these appointments, was around 600.

As a result, around 35 hotels and motels owned by PTDC in Hunza, Naran, Kaghan, Swat, Kalam, Chitral and Gilgit and other areas have been closed to the tourists for over 12 days now. According to sources, the government was considering to release an additional grant of Rs.20 million to pay the salaries of employees, which will hardly cover their two months dues.

A Cottage at PTDC Motel Naran. Tourists are facing great difficulties to get decent and safe accommodation in Naran due to closure of PTDC Motel.
A Cottage at PTDC Motel Naran. Tourists are facing great difficulties to get decent and safe accommodation in Naran due to closure of PTDC Motel.

PTDC’s Employees Union President Majid Yaqub said that the corporation would only re-open the facilities once the outstanding salaries were paid. “Provident funds and employee increments have been suspended for the last seven years,” he claimed.

He added that 11 employees were terminated for raising their voice against PTDC Managing Director Mir Shahjahan Khetran and for highlighting their issues in the media. Yaqub alleged that Khetran had embezzled PTDC funds and appointed his nephew Mir Zaman Khetran as a signatory for cheques in a blatant act of nepotism.

PTDC Motel Ayubia
PTDC Motel Ayubia

Khetran had also appointed Saeed Abbas Ansari as general manager finance and Abdur Rasool Zahidi as the second signatory. Without Ansari and Zahidi’s approval, employees’ salaries cannot be paid, said Yaqub. He said that Mr. Ansari and Zahidi were collaborators with Mir Shahjahan Khetran in carrying out all  illegal and corrupt practices.  In order to cover all financial mismanagement, Mr. Khetran had made Mr. Zahidi the Incharge of Accounts for PTDC Head Office as well as its three subsidiaries namely, PTDC Motels, Flashman’s Hotel and Pakistan Tours Limited. Two other Managers, Shaikh Fayyaz Ahmed and Ali Akbar Malik received undue favours from the ex-MD against their “services” in shape of out of turn and illegal promotions and retrospect financial benefits thereof. A few more blue-eyed fresh appointees receive lucrative postings and up-to-date payment of salaries whereas those who raised their voices against these malpractices and corruption, were transferred to far-flung areas without giving any TA/DA or any availability of posts.

It is also learned that the Federal Investigation Agency and and NAB were investigating a few cases of financial embazalment and illegal appointments made by Mr. Abdul Rasool Zahidi  in consultation with Mr. Saeed Abbas Ansari.

Mr. Majid Yaqoob demanded that a free and fair inquiry should be made by the government to un-earth all of these corruptions cases. He had also raised the issue of nepotism of the ex-MD. “Tourists pay hotel and motel rents in cash but there is no mechanism to record inflows due to which the money can easily be misappropriated,” said Yaqub.

A senior PTDC official, requesting anonymity, confirmed the allegations levelled by Yaqub, adding that Khetran had recruited 1,100 employees, overburdening the corporation. “Thousands of tourists will suffer due to the protests,” said the official. “PTDC is now experiencing losses.” When contacted, Khetran had termed the allegations baseless and said some PTDC officials were running a smear campaign against him. He stated that he had only appointed 45 persons.