The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it had announced the schedule for holding a by-election in the Sindh assembly constituency PS-53 (Tando Mohammed Khan).
The seat was declared vacant after Pakistan Peoples Party candidate Syeda Waheeda Shah was disqualified from contesting an election for two years for slapping ECP staff at a polling station in the constituency during the February 25 by-poll.
ECP Joint Secretary Sher Afgan has submitted before the court that the returning officer of the commission had conducted Waheeda Shah’s trial under article 86-A and imposed a penalty of Rs0.1 million against her for assaulting a school teacher at a polling station in Sindh.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing the case. The court was informed that the police had also produced a charge sheet against Shah in the case. The court asked the police to continue its task independently.
The bench also sought a report from the government about measures taken for the protection of civil servants.
“We have issued notices on the last hearing to all chief secretaries of four provinces as well as the Islamabad chief commissioner and the establishment secretary in this regard,” the chief justice observed.
Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq informed the court that a committee headed by the establishment secretary and comprising all four chief secretaries had been constituted to review the terms of conditions of civil servants, particularly regarding transfers and making them officers on special duty (OSD).
However, the court has given the establishment secretary two weeks to prepare a comprehensive report regarding measures taken by the government for the protection of civil servants. The court also appointed Advocate Hafiz SA Rehman as amicus curiae in the case.
During the hearing, the chief justice observed that the issue would not be delayed. He also told the attorney general that the court would welcome legislation to protect civil servants and ensure that they aren’t politically victimised in future.
A district police officer in Sargodha, Rizwan Ahmad, who was transferred to Gilgit-Baltistan when he registered an FIR against former MPA Aslam Madiyana for brutally assaulting a schoolteacher, also appeared before the court..
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2012.
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