Rules of business: MPs have no role in hiring, posting: SC

Sets aside LHC’s 2002 acquittal of former petroleum minister Anwar Saifullah

Hasnaat Malik January 22, 2016


The apex court has declared that under the federal and provincial rules of business, a federal or provincial minister or member parliament has no direct role in matters of appointment, posting, transfer or promotion of a person in the concerned ministry, division or department.

The Supreme Court’s three-judge bench – headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and comprising Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rahman and Justice Umar Ata Bandial – has issued a 68-page verdict against the acquittal of Anwar Saifullah Khan by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 2002.

Anwar Saifullah was charged with relaxing the relevant rules during his tenure as the federal minister for petroleum during Benazir Bhutto’s second government from 1994 to 1996. He had got 145 persons appointed to various jobs against the requirements of Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDCL) only to please his political friends in parliament.

“We have felt convinced that the charge under section 9(a)(vi) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 stood fully established against the respondent (Anwar Saifullah),”said the judgment.

The judgment held that this appeal of state is allowed and the LHC’s June 13, 2002 judgment is set aside and the judgment passed by the Accountability Court, Lahore on 30.11.2000 and the conviction and sentence of the respondent recorded through that judgment are restored with the modification.

“[The modification is that] the sentence of fine passed against the respondent is remitted as the criminal case in hand is about two decades old, the respondent has already undergone his entire sentence of imprisonment and the period of his disqualifications under section 15 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 has also expired by now,” the order said.

However, one judge, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, disagreed with the majority judges’ verdict and dismissed the state’s appeal against the acquittal of Anwar Saifullah. The copy of the order will be sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd,  2016.


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