ISLAMABAD: A stay order, over the health ministry’s directives to suspend the chief of the apex drug regulator, was extended by the high court on Friday.
The Higher Education Commission has also been directed to present a complete record of degree verification of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Akhtar.
This was directed by a bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, as it heard a petition filed by Akhtar against his removal as DRAP chief by the health ministry after it emerged that his doctorate degree could be fake.
During Friday’s hearing, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb remarked that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) had not declared Akhtar’s degree as fake. Rather, he remarked, the apex higher education body only termed it as “not accredited”.
Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb extended the stay order against his removal until March 21.
The court further directed the DRAP chief to appear before the federal health secretary at 10am on Monday morning and present his degree while making a case for his reinstatement. The health secretary was directed to seek HEC’s help in verifying Akhtar’s degree.
At this, the health secretary said that Akhtar was given eight extra marks for having a PhD.
Akhtar, when asked about the matter, told the court that his degree was genuine but the HEC did not properly verify it.
Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb asked whether the selection committee verified his degree while appointing him as the DRAP chief.
At this, the health secretary said that usually, degrees of candidates are verified after they have been appointed.
Further hearings were adjourned until March 21.
Contempt of court notice for father
A father, who tried to sneak his three-year-old son to Dubai was issued a show cause notice for contempt of court on Friday.
The federal interior secretary and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were directed to initiate proceedings to bring the man and his son back to Pakistan.
This was directed by a single member bench of the IHC, comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, while hearing a case filed by the boy’s mother Hania Usman.
Hania claimed that the boy’s father, Usman Ashiq had taken her son abroad and hence she could not meet him. Moreover, despite court orders, Ashiq had not brought their son back from and appeared before the court.
At this, the court issued a show cause notice to Ashiq and directed to arrest him for contempt of court and present him before the court.
“The FIA should bring back the suspect from Dubai using any means,” Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb directed, and further ordered the federal interior secretary to present the father and child in court at the next hearing of the case.
The interior secretary was further ordered by the court to block his computerised national identity card (CNIC) and passport
On December 28, Ashiq’s name had been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) on court orders but the suspect fled to Dubai the very day.
Strike in courts
To protest the new judicial policy which withdraws powers of registering cases under 22-A and 22-B from sessions court, a total strike was observed in the Islamabad District Courts on Friday.
Litigants suffered after lawyers failed to appear before the court.
The strike was held on the call of the Islamabad Bar Association.
The Bar Association’s Secretary Raja Shakeel said that lawyers did not appear before courts on Friday.
He added that they have severe reservations over the new bar policy.
They further claimed that withdrawing Article 22-A and Article 22-B from the sessions court was contrary to the institution and the law.
The lawyers contended that by withdrawing 22-A and 22-B would open the field to corruption apart from granting police too much power.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2019.
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