QUETTA: It has been contended before the divisional bench of the Balochistan High Court (BHC) that the ECP’s order be set aside and provincial government be granted permission to conduct new recruitment in government departments till May 31.
The bench, comprising justices Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Kamran Mulla Khail, was hearing a constitutional petition filed by Minister for Home Sarfraz Bugti challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision of banning new recruitment in government departments.
The ECP had imposed a ban on recruitment in federal, provincial and local government institutions in April in order to discourage pre-poll rigging by using government jobs as incentive.
During the hearing on Monday, Bugti’s lawyer Kamran Murtaza contended before the bench that ending the sense of deprivation among the youth of Balochistan was the provincial government’s responsibility and in order to do so it had to provide jobs.
For the last couple of years, doctors and teachers have been protesting against lack of job opportunities in government departments across the province.
Citing Article 4 of ECP, Justice Mandokhail inquired from Murtaza whether ECP had the power to ban all new recruitment after announcing general elections in the country, “Or do you want to approve unapproved development schemes in the province?”
The advocate replied, “No, I don’t have such intentions, but the recent ban is tantamount to pre-poll rigging as the ECP has no right on new recruitment and development funds.”
Then Justice Mandokhail inquired from Additional Advocate General Mir Sheiq Baloch if the provincial government had introduced any plan for new recruitments and it was able to pay salaries to new appointees for the next five years.
The AAG replied, “The government is prepared and has finalised all plans for the new recruitment process.”
Advocate Murtaza said, “It’s our mandate which can’t be snatched before May 31.”
Justice Mandokhail said, “If you invite me to dinner or lunch before the elections, then definitely I will remember you while casting my vote.”
The AAG apprised the court that the treasury department director general had briefed them that there were more vacant posts in various provincial departments which would end till June.
Murtaza said, “The announcement of vacancies had been delayed since 2013 during Malik Baloch’s tenure as chief minister.”
Justice Mandokhail replied, “We have been noticing the issue and been seeking an answer. Are those who were recruited in government departments in previous years performing their duties with sincerity?
Murtaza informed the court that the time limit of the new recruitment act 2013 had passed but no one challenged it.
Justice Mulla Khail replied that it was in their knowledge and they could not close their eyes to it.
The divisional bench emphasised that it would be better they waited for the election commission’s answer.
Showing indignation over immense corruption in government recruitment process, Justice Mandokhail said, “Is the way the provincial government is recruiting new appointees constitutional or legal?”
The judge ordered the petitioner to bring the record of hiring since January 2018.
The divisional bench issued a notice to the provincial election commissioner for appearance before the bench today (Tuesday).