KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) expressed anger on Wednesday over the absence of Karachi Development Authority (KDA) director-general (DG), Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) administrator and Lines Area Redevelopment Project director on a petition against commercial activities in residential buildings.
The petition, filed by a citizen, said that the court had already issued orders to restricting commercial activities in residential buildings. Why the relevant officials have not yet implemented the court orders?
The court said that despite summoning the relevant officials for their clarification, they did not appear before the court. ''It seems their arrest warrants need to be issued,'' the bench remarked.
The court once again summoned KDA DG, KMC administrator and Lines Area Redevelopment Project director on April 29 and warned the officials of strict action if they failed to appear before the court.
The SHC sought arguments on Wednesday from the accused's lawyers pertaining to illegal appointments and embezzlement in Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) on April 9.
A two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice (CJ) Ahmed Ali Sheikh and comprising Justice Omar Sial, was hearing the bail plea filed by former vice chancellor Dr Zafar Iqbal.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor informed the court that Dr Iqbal illegally hired Ahmed Ali, who handed over the construction contract to his sister, Huma Sajid. Moreover, the advertisements for the contract were not published in the press.
The counsel for the accused, Amir Naqvi, maintained that the allegations against Dr Iqbal were baseless. The appointments at the varsity were made in emergency, otherwise the Senate would have to give approval.
The CJ inquired that first the appointments were made and later approval from the Senate was taken. Naqvi maintained that in case of an emergency situation, the vice chancellor could use his discretionary powers.
The CJ remarked that no educational emergency had been imposed in the country.
Former FUUAST registrar Muhammad Ali's counsel, Advocate Zakir Laghari while giving his arguments said that his client was only accused for receiving salary.
The CJ said that his appointment was illegal, to which Laghari said that the accused was a cancer patient.
CJ remarked that the court was aware of it and a separate petition should be filed for seeking bail on medical grounds.
The NAB prosecutor further mentioned that the contract of security of the varsity was also illegally awarded to a security company that had paid Rs4m in bribe to accused Azhar Ali.
The CJ remarked, "Such is the state of our national institutions. A nation with failed national institutions would fail."
The SHC, while directing to call a meeting of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and provincial taskforce on missing persons, once again sought replies from the Sindh home department, Sindh inspector-general (IG) of police, Rangers director-general and several others on April 24.
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto and Justice KK Agha, was hearing the petitions regarding the recovery of over 50 missing persons including Pakistan Navy official Imran Yousuf. The court expressed annoyance over the assistant attorney-general for Pakistan for not submitting a reply by the federal government.
The court remarked that it had been observed that the federal government has no interest in the missing persons' case as the attorney-general office has not submitted any reply despite repeated notices. Justice Phulpoto remarked that it is unfortunate that the government has no concern for the public, the Police also is not interested in the recovery of missing people.
Pakistan Navy submitted an investigation report in the court which said that the navy officers were not involved in the disappearance of Imran Yousuf.
The assistant attorney-general maintained that Saad Siddiqui, the son of Pasban Pakistan General Secretary Usman Moazzam, has been kept in a detention centre according to an officer from the interior ministry, the name of whom is not known.
KDA DG replaced after bureaucratic shuffle
The investigation officer stated that letters to the detention centres across the country have been written, but no responses from their ends have been received. Justice Phulpoto remarked that the police were not concerned for the citizens who were missing since 2014.
Dr Asim case
The petition moved against the accountability court decision by accused Basharat Mirza and Iqbal Ahmed in Rs17 billion corruption reference against Dr Asim Hussain was heard by the CJ and Justice Omar Sial.
Basharat Mirza's counsel, Advocate Azhar Siddiqui appeared before the court while accused Iqbal Ahmed's counsel Farooq Naek remained absent. The accused have filed the petition in SHC against incomplete reference documents. The court adjourned the hearing till April 8 on the absence of counsel.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2019.
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