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September 13, 2018

Special secretary’s post: Lawyer files petition against speakers of NA, KP Assembly


September 13, 2018

PESHAWAR: A lawyer has filed contempt of court petition in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) against the speakers of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and National Assembly for disregarding the judgement of the Supreme Court.

Ali Azeem Afridi, a high court lawyer who filed the petition, maintained that former KP Assembly Speaker and current National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and incumbent KP Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ghani in disregard of the apex court’s judgement created and kept the post of special secretary in KP Assembly.

The petition said the post was created for a period of six months in anticipation of approval of the assembly’s Finance Committee.

In order to fill the post, it said, the services of Syed Waqar Shah (respondent number 3) were sought on deputation basis. Waqar Shah had been working as senior officer Flight Services in Pakistan International Airlines.

It said a meeting of the Finance Committee of the provincial assembly was held and it gave approval for creation of the post of special secretary to facilitate respondent number 3.

“The illegality originates therefrom the notification(s) dated 27.12.2013 and 15.12.2014 issued by Asad Qaiser, while acting as speaker provincial assembly, benefiting respondent 3 by allowing deputation and thereafter absorption of his services in the Assembly Secretariat in disregard of the judgment(s) of the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” the petition said.

In Ali Azhar Khan Baloch’s case, it was stated that, “The competent authority in the cases of petitioners has ordered absorption by relaxing the rules, which is in deviation of the scheme of qualifications incorporated in the rules of 1974. We may observe that section 5 of the Act does not give any discretion to the selection authority to bypass the restriction by relaxing the Rules; if such discretion is allowed to prevail, it will destroy the fabric of Civil Servant recruited in the cadre or service or post after competitive process.”

Citing another judgement of Sudhir Ahmed’s case, in which it was held that, “Where a post could not be filled except by initial recruitment or promotion, appointment by deputation or by absorption being against the law could not be maintained.”

In suo moto case number 19 of 2016, it was held that, “Good governance was not a favour to be bestowed on the people, it was their right.”

For the sake of brevity and information, it said, an office memorandum was circulated in lieu of the judgments of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, so as to inform all the chief secretaries of provinces and vice versa regarding instances of such nature, but the same was taken as benefit by respondent number 2, while acting as speaker provincial assembly so as to introduce respondent number 3 in the assembly.

It was submitted that “regardless of the stated position, the respondent number 1 (Mushtaq Ghani) is bent upon allowing respondent number 3 to continue and act as special secretary to the assembly speaker, downsizing the will of the law with the stroke of a pen.”

The petition argued that even otherwise the respondent number 2 wasn’t empowered to issue such notification(s) in disregard of the judgment(s) of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

It was held in the judgement that, “Public functionaries have to reinforce good governance, observe rules strictly and adhere to rule of law in public service; public functionaries are not obliged to follow illegal orders of higher authorities.”

It was submitted that the respondent number 1 (Mushtaq Ghani) has been sworn in to discharge duties and perform functions honestly to the best of his ability and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the law.

It was pointed out that the respondent number 1 has also taken oath not to allow his personal interests to influence official conduct or decisions.

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