LAHORE - The Lahore High Court has restrained Sara Afzal Tarar, Rana Afzal and Engineer Qamarul Islam Raja of PML-N from working as members of Punjab Education Foundation in a petition challenging new board of directors appointed on alleged political grounds.

The LHC judge also sought reply from the authorities concerned on Friday and adjourned the matter till April 16.

A lawyer-petitioner, Chaudhary Shoaib Saleem, had challenged the new Board of Directors of the Foundation constituted against the Act of the Foundation. He argued that the directors had completed their term on March 18, 2014 but were still enjoying the status of PEF membership.

On Dec 22, 2014, Punjab School Education Department Secretary issued a notification No SO(ER-II) 2-3/2007(P) and constituted a new board of director, the petitioner said. The new board of directors is against the law under the said foundation was established, he added.

The new board of PEF directors includes MNA Saira Afzal Tarar, MNA Rana Muhammad Afzal, MPA Engineer Qamar-ul-Islam Raja, Provincial Ombudsperson, Prof Dr Mira Phailbus and Commissioner Afzaal Bhatti, PEF vice-chairman Dr Amjad Saqib and Strategy and innovation Unit Chief Minister’s Secretariat Chairman and Punjab Examination Commission chairperson Dr. Zafar Iqbal QureshiMember.

The petitioner says these respondents are public servants as they are holding various public offices and do not fall within the definition of private persons which are necessarily to be included from private sector as per Section 5 (1) (2) of Punjab Education Foundation Act - 2004.

He adds they are not eligible for being the members of the Board of Directors as private members and they cannot hold the offices of directors of Punjab Education Foundation, hence they have to explain under which authority of law they are holding the office of PEF directors.

Shoaib submits that there has been massive financial embezzlement and misappropriation in the Punjab Education Foundation and a very exhaustive inquiry was launched by Chief Minister’s Inception Team (CMIT). He says a report was issued by the CMIT on June 20, 2014 wherein registration of criminal cases was also directed against the top level management officials besides conducting an independent and impartial audit of the financial and other matters of the foundation.

He states the constitution of the present board of directors is clear violation of the statutory law and mala fide on the part of the government to get complete hold of the foundation although it has sufficient representation in decision making.

On Friday, he prayed the court to set aside the impugned notification No So (ER-II)2-3/2007(P) issued by Punjab School Education Department Secretary by Dec 22 last year for the constitution of new BoDs comprising the above said respondents.