After the privatization of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) the federal government has notified it as a corporate body and its staff outside the purview of government service, civil service or the public service.
The National Bank of Pakistan corporate body has also been included in the list of nine public sector enterprises (PSEs) the government plans to divest its shareholding through capital market transactions.
Based on the government notification, the National Bank has directed all its executives, officers and staff to surrender their government passports forthwith, change their status as government officers from the passport column and not to present themselves as government servants, public servants or civil servants.
A notification issued by the ministry of finance said the decision to declare the bank as body corporate was made after proper legal opinion obtained from the ministry of law and independent legal opinion sought by the NBP from three separate law firms.
The finance ministry said the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights had been consulted before issuance of the notification.
“They have opined that under Sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the National Bank of Pakistan Ordinance, 1949 (XIX of 1949), the bank shall be a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal and shall sue and be sued.”
The law ministry also held that NBP had a juristic personality and its employees were not civil servants nor have been declared public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 (Act XLV of 1860).
Earlier, the NBP management had also observed that its executives, officers and staff were not required to secure No Objection Certification (NOC) for traveling abroad.
The law ministry endorsed the viewpoint that no provision of the law had been found whereby employees of NBP would be classified as ‘ Public Servants’ or ‘Civil servants’ or ‘Government servants’.
Therefore, employees of NBP do not declare themselves as “government servants/civil servants/public servants.”
When applying for passports, this would not be an offence with reference to the Passport Act.
As a consequence, the NBP directed all of its executives, directors, general managers, and employees who had their existing or valid passports mentioning government officer to change their occupation column immediately to prevent any offence under the passport act.
“Now, the NBP employees are exempted to obtain necessary NOC from head office for obtaining international passport in future,” the bank notification concluded.