Freeze on salaries: Defence Ministry moves intra-court appeal

Court seeks SOP for allowing motorbikes to ply on the motorway

Our Correspondent December 11, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The additional attorney general was granted time by the IHC on Monday to prepare their case in an appeal filed by the defence ministry.

The defence ministry had challenged an order of a single bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) which slapped a Rs2 million fine and froze half the salaries of the secretaries of interior and defence, and the Inspector General Police (IGP) of Islamabad every month until Umar Abdullah — who had gone missing from the federal capital — is recovered.

An IHC division bench, comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, heard the intra-court appeal filed by the Defence Ministry on Monday.

The ministry, in its plea, stated that it had no connections with the missing person’s case and pleaded that the deduction of salaries of officers as punishment was an incorrect act.

Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Abdul Jabbar requested the bench to grant some time for preparation of the case.  The court accepted his plea and adjourned the case until next week.

SOPs for permits

A division bench of the IHC, comprising IHC Chief Justice Minallah and Justice Aurangzeb, has rejected a plea by the Motorways and Highways National Police (MHNP) seeking a stay against a ruling of a single bench of the court which had allowed motorbikes with engines larger than 500 CCs to drive on the motorway.

Instead, the IHC has directed the motorway police to draft a standard operating procedure (SOP) for granting permits to different vehicles to drive on the motorway and then grant no-objection certificates to those who satisfy your criteria.

“Without your permission, no one will be allowed onto the motorway,” the court noted.

During Monday’s hearing, the petitioner’s counsel, Babar Sattar contended that permission had been granted to bikers for three years in 2011. But when a new IG was appointed, that permission was revoked.

Justice Minallah noted that according to the 2000 motorway laws, bikes are not barred from the motorway, nor does the MHNP inspector general have the powers to bar bikers on the motorway.

He further remarked that everywhere in the world bikes have permission to drive on motorways.

“For three years they had permission to drive on the motorway and there were no accidents either,” Justice Minallah remarked and asked why was a ban imposed?

Justice Aurangzeb noted that neither do the old rules of the motorway police bar motorbikes nor do the new rules suggest anything like that. Chief Justice Minallah asked how many cases of tyre-burst have been reported, adding that cars also suffer accidents, should they also be banned?

“Instead of imposing a bar, you should devise laws and check the quality of tyres,” he remarked.

A representative of the motorway police stated that they have ticketed a number of bikers on the motorway and the relevant record has been submitted.

However, Chief Justice Minallah noted that when the bikers are vowing to comply with the law, then what was the problem.

He added that a fair verdict will be passed in this regard next month. 

Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2018.


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