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March 26, 2018

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KP Ehtesab Commission breathing its last

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s toothless provincial Ehtesab Commission is breathing its last. The Ehtesab Commission of Imran Khan, who had raised the slogan of accountability of all in just 90 days, has virtually become ineffective. Commissioner Syeda Sarwat Jehan has exposed all irregularities and violation of rules in the Commission.

In a letter to ruling party chairman Imran Khan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak, she has strongly protested over illegal appointments and violation of the rules in the recruitment process by acting director Brig (retd) Sajjad.

She said in her letter that the Ehtesab Commission was on ventilator now and it needed complete surgery. The commissioner said that Ehtesab Commission should be purged of black sheep and the vested interests would have to be stopped from entering the department.

In the detailed letter (copy available with the reporter), Commissioner Sarwat said Brig (retd) Muhammad Sajjad was appointed acting director general (DG) after the resignation of former DG Lt-Genera (retd) Hamid Khan in February 2016. However, he’s still holding the post despite completion of his contract period in March 2017.

The Law Department said in its opinion in May 2017 that holding of the post of Ehtesab Commission DG by Brig (retd) Sajjad after end of his contract period is totally illegal. However, all the Ehtesab Commissioners were kept ignorant about the Law Department’s opinion. She said the opinion of the Law Department has put a big question mark on the legal position of the activities of Ehtesab Commission post-March 2017 date.

Also, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) Administrative Committee was given the authority to appoint the new director general, which was a violation of Article 175-A of the Ehtesab Act. Later on, the PHC declared this decision null and void. Since February 2016, the Ehtesab Commission is running without a director general, and due to legal complications the appointment is getting further delayed.

Brig (retd) Tariq had been working as director Internal Monitoring and Public Complaints (IM&PC) Wing of the Ehtesab Commission. However, he was removed from his post by amending the Ehtesab Act when he pointed out irregularities and illegal recruitments in his report.

Since March 2017, the post of IM&PC director is lying vacant. Due to amendments to Ehtesab Act, neither Ehtesab Commissioners not the PHC Administrative Committee have the right to make new recruitments to the Commission. The contract period of ehtesab commissioners and prosecutor general will end in Aug 2018, and due to the amended Ehtesab Commission Act, now there would be only two commissioners in the department.

Syeda Sarwat said in her letter that despite various internal pressures, she was informing the KP chief minister that if no remedial measures were taken immediately, the Commission would become totally ineffective. She stated that some KP assembly members raised the issue in the house recently, but no heed was paid to it. She alleged that the Ehtesab Commission was being run on the behest of a key officer in the Commission, who’s the relative of a provincial minister. She claimed that all decisions were being taken in the Commission on his orders.

Talking to the reporter, Syeda Sarwat Jehan confirmed that she had written a letter to CM Pervaiz Khattak and PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

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