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April 17, 2018

PHC moved against ECP’s ban on schemes, recruitment


April 17, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decision banning new development schemes and barring recruitment in the departments coming under federal, provincial and local governments was challenged in the Peshawar High Court on Monday.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Prisons, Malik Qasim Khan who belongs to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) challenged the ban through his lawyer Barrister Waqar Ahmad.

The ECP through a notification issued on April 11 had banned the launching of new development schemes and recruitment by the federal, provincial and local governments.The order passed by the ECP sought to halt forthwith the work on all development schemes approved on or after April 1. However, there will be no bar on gas and water supply schemes and construction and carpeting of roads.

Keeping in view past practices, the ECP also banned transfer of previously allocated development funds to other heads. Letters to this effect were sent to all ministries and relevant departments.

In the petition, provincial Minister Malik Qasim Khan stated that the ban imposed by the ECP before giving schedule for the 2018 general election was illegal and against the law.The petitioner submitted that there was a dire need for police personnel to be recruited.He pointed out that thousands of candidates had taken tests through the National Testing Service. He said interviews had been conducted but their appointments were stopped at the last stage due to the ban.

The minister said there was need for fresh appointments in various departments due to shortage of employees.The petitioner requested the bench to declare the ban void and unlawful.

The ECP through its secretary and chief election commissioner were made parties to the petition.However, as per the ECP, the order will not affect the ongoing recruitment being made through the Federal Public Service Commission or the Provincial Public Service Commission.

On April 2, the ECP had barred public office-holders from using public money to promote themselves ahead of the election.The ECP had sent letter to the provincial chief secretaries pointing out that it was busy with preparations for the upcoming election and various stakeholders had reported that several public office-holders, including ministers, members of the national and provincial assemblies and party leaders, were announcing development schemes and fixing inaugural plaques of their names to woo voters ahead of the polls.

The ECP had stated that understandably development schemes such as hospitals, schools, roads, tube-wells are executed by using public money and, therefore, self-projection through funds from the public exchequer was by no means acceptable.

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