PM to decide on OGRA chief’s appointment soon

Selection committee shortlists five candidates for OGRA's top slot

ISLAMABAD: A selection committee constituted to hire the chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) will soon forward the shortlisted names to the prime minister for approval.

However, according to sources, state-owned gas utilities — Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) — have been striving hard to place a “blue-eyed official”, among the shortlisted candidates, at the helm of affairs at OGRA.

As per details, a committee constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan under his Special Assistant Shahzad Akbar had shortlisted a panel of five candidates after conducting interviews of more than 24 candidates for the lucrative position of OGRA chairman.

Among the five shortlisted candidates, three belonged to OGRA while remaining to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and Frontier Works Organization (FWO). The three candidates that belonged to OGRA included Dr Abdullah Malik (former OGRA member oil), Senior Executive Director (Appeals) Zainul Abideen Qureshi, and SED (Gas) Shehzad Iqbal, whereas other candidates were NEPRA CFO Salman Amin and FWO DDG Salman Qaiserani.

According to sources, the gas utilities have so far remained successful in lobbying for  Shehzad Iqbal among the shortlisted candidates for final nomination.

They alleged that Iqbal, while working with OGRA, had provided undue to the gas utilities under the head Unaccounted for Gas (UfG) and he was also recently transferred from the gas department of OGRA to another department ostensibly due to his poor performance.

Sources said if the PM gives approval regarding the appointment of OGRA chairman, then this matter would be brought before the federal cabinet for formal approval.

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Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is a an investigative journalist at Profit. He can be reached at [email protected]
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