PTI govt in legal quandary due to faulty decisions

Published: September 4, 2019
Law Minister Farogh Naseem. Photo:AFP

Law Minister Farogh Naseem. Photo:AFP

ISLAMABAD: Some flawed decisions on part of the federal government have put it in tight space at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in relation to four different cases.

In the case related to the dismissal of Mushtaq Sukhera as federal tax ombudsman (FTO), the IHC is expected to unveil its reserved order this month.  Ministry of Law on June 13 removed Sukhera from the post, terming his appointment against the rules and regulations. A day later, the IHC suspended the ministry’s notification but also barred Sukhera from exercising his authority as tax ombudsman.

A written reply submitted by the ministry to the court said the president was not legally obliged to make this appointment on the prime minister’s proposal.  Therefore, knowing this legal flaw, President Dr Arif Alvi took notice of the appointment of Sakhera and withdrew the notification of August 31, 2018.

The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan had also endorsed the ministry’s reply during his arguments. However, the IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked as what would be the legal status of the decisions Sakhera made during his appointment.

“Whether appointments of ombudsmen since 2000 have any legal effect?” he noted.

The second case is related to the appointment of two new members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). In this case, the court issued notices to the federal government as well as Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and the AGP. The application is scheduled to be heard on September 12.

The opposition parties are also likely to become a party in said case. Jahangir Khan Jadoon, a lawyer belonging to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has filed a writ petition in this regard.

The third case is related to giving charge of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) to Additional Secretary Muhammad Ayub Chaudhry.  An officer of the PARC challenged the appointment of Chaudhry and the court issued a notice to the Ministry of Food Security and Research secretary.

In this petition, the applicant claimed that the present chairman has neither the relevant education nor experience and he has been posted in violation of the PARC rules.

In a written order, the IHC chief justice asked the government why a person eligible in accordance with Section 9 of the PARC ordinance 1981 has not been appointed as yet.

The fourth case is related to the dismissal of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman policy board Khalid Mirza. Responding to a petition, Justice Athar Manullah suspended the government’s August 23 notification for Mirza’s dismissal.

The petitioner argued that a member can only be removed in a manner described in Section 18 of the Act of 1997. According to the petition, Mirza was appointed to this post in November 2018 for four years.

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