KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) sought on Monday a reply from former provincial education secretary Fazlullah Pechuho on allegations of implicating a suspended school teacher in a false case for refusing to pay a bribe for reinstatement.
Headed by Justice Fahim Ahmed Siddiqui, a single bench sought a reply by November 23.
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Pechuho, brother-in-law of former president Asif Ali Zardari, was granted bail by the anti-corruption court in March last year in connection with a case related to alleged fake appointments and illegal promotions.
The complainant, Muhammad Mithal, a suspended high school teacher, had accused Pechuho and two other employees of the education department, section officer Abdul Jabbar and junior clerk Iftikhar Hussain, of refusing to reinstate him without receiving a bribe.
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According to Mithal, the secretary, through Jabbar and Hussain, had demanded Rs200,000 for his reinstatement and extended threats of termination in case of non-payment.
He alleged that the bureaucrat had suspended 405 teaching and non-teaching staff of the education department and his frontmen were exploiting them by taking money from the suspended employees.
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Mithal also claimed to have been suspended twice during the course of his employment, adding that when he approached the department authorities regarding his case he was asked to pay the bribe first.
According to him, the meeting took place at a hotel near the Sindh Secretariat offices and the section officer and junior clerk demanded the money in front of some witnesses named in the complaint. The suspended teacher claimed to have refused to pay the bribe, after which he was issued a show-cause notice by the department. He added that the accused threatened him that he would lose his job via SMS.
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He alleged that the suspended employees were reinstated only after they paid bribes and that the extortion network was working under the patronage of the former secretary.
Pechuho had moved a criminal miscellaneous application in the high court, denying the allegations levelled against him by Mithal and against the proceedings against them before the anti-corruption court concerned.
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On Monday, Pechuho appeared in person and refuted the allegations, claiming they were being levelled against him to tarnish his image.
Mithal told the court that he was being victimised for exposing the corruption of the secretary and others. He alleged that fake cases had been lodged against him at the behest of the former education secretary. He pleaded to the court to quash such alleged fake cases against him.
The bench directed Pechuho to submit his reply in this regard by November 23.
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