KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Tuesday the provincial advocate-general to submit details of the officers who have completed their five-year tenure as heads of government departments in the province in the last five years.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Muneeb Akhtar, sought such details by today [Wednesday]. Till then, the judges allowed Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja to continue serving on the post of inspector-general.
The bench was hearing two applications seeking contempt of the court's order against the provincial authorities concerned for removal of Khawaja from the IG's post in violation of the court's December 2016 stay order and the assigning of the additional charge of the post to AIG Abdul Majid Dasti.
Sindh govt not letting IG perform duties, court told
Making his argument, the top government law officer, Barrister Zamir Ghumro, said the government had decided to bring reforms to the policing system. A five-member committee, headed by the law secretary and comprising the advocate-general, the home secretary and former law minister, Sikandar Mandhro, has been constituted to suggest reforms to the police laws, Ghumro added.
The advocate-general (AG) argued that Khawaja could not himself challenge any decision of the government regarding his transfer and posting in the court as the province had the authority to transfer him under Article 74 of the Sindh Civil Servants Act, 1973.
He added that the legal condition of completing a five-year term on the IG's post was no more in the field as the same was not applicable to the officers who were appointed on deputation in the province by the federal government.
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Therefore, the law officer argued the IG's transfer and posting was made under the general laws as the provincial laws were also applicable to federal government officers, who were posted on deputation in the province.
The judges observed that on one hand, the government does not consider the IG as a civil servant while on the other, it was making transfers and postings of the top provincial cop.
The bench members observed that the term of the IG's service in the Rules of Business, 1973, was prescribed as five years but the government has changed 13 officers on the IG's post during a period of 10 years, in disregard of the law. The judge inquired why the government was not implementing the Rules of Business, 1973.
Ghumro said the province had the authority to surrender the services of deputed officers back to the federal government at any time.
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The judges wondered why the province was not following laws related to the tenure of the IG's service even when Khawaja was appointed as IG in 2016 after the consultation of the province. They further remarked that the government was not following its own laws.
To the court's query, the AG argued the province could also surrender the services of the chief secretary, an officer of the District Management Group (DMG) who was also appointed in the province by the Centre, under the same law.
The bench members inquired from the AG if the heads of any government department in the province had completed the five-year tenure of their service in the last five years. The AG maintained many officers had completed five-year terms as head of their departments concerned.
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Therefore, the bench directed him to submit the list of such officers by the next date of hearing.
Ghumro recalled the appointment of an officer, Shahid Hayat, of Own Pay Scale (OPS) as the additional IG was also challenged and the government had to withdraw the same. He contended Khawaja is also an OPS officer but was appointed because there was no other senior officer available.
However, he claimed that since Khawaja himself had pleaded to the court that his services may be allowed to be handed over back to Islamabad, therefore, the matter may be resolved accordingly.
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