While hearing the Hajj corruption case on Tuesday, the Supreme Court ordered former Federal Investigation Agency director Hussain Asghar to rejoin the agency within three days.
Asghar was investigating the Hajj corruption case before he was abruptly transferred and appointed as the police chief of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) last year.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, directed Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Khushnood Lashari to suspend the notification of Asghar’s appointment as IGP for G-B if he failed to report back to the FIA headquarters by June 8.
Lashari, who also holds the charge of establishment secretary, informed the court that they have proposed three names to the Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister for Asghar’s replacement.
However, he added, the chief minister was unwilling to release Asghar, citing poor law and order and rising sectarian violence in the region.
Justice Chaudhry, however, said the law and order situation was poor in other parts of the country as well, and added that the chief minister had no right to stop Asghar from reporting back to the FIA. Being a civil servant Asghar is under the command of the prime minister, he said.
While submitting a report, Attorney General Irfan Qadir pointed out that despite the issuance of a notification of the Supreme Court’s July 25, 2011 order, Asghar had not reported back to the FIA.
The chief justice said that as far as employees of the FIA are concerned, they are bound to obey the federal government; otherwise disciplinary proceedings can be initiated against them.
“We are of the opinion that despite the direction of this court and order of the federal government, if Hussain Asghar does not report back to the FIA headquarters, then the establishment secretary is bound to proceed against him not only violating his order but the direction of the apex court,” said Justice Chaudhry.
He ordered Lashari to suspend Asghar’s notification and ask the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues to stop his salary, in case of failure to comply with the court’s orders.
The attorney general, however, stepped in to say that Asghar should not be suspended without being heard. The case was adjourned till June 8.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2012.
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