ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) has issued notices to respondents over a constitutional petition against the appointments of 48 officials in the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) higher courts.
The two-judge bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Monday took up the petition filed by Supreme Appellate Court Bar Association President Shafqat Wali and others through Arif Chaudhry against 48 officials in the G-B higher courts.
After a brief hearing, the bench issued notices to all respondents including Ministry of Kashmir & GB Affairs, GB Supreme Appellate Court through registrar, Auditor General of Pakistan and 48 officials in G-B high courts.
The petition contended, “Appointments are made in a manner of cherry-picking and in a colourful exercise of the rules on the basis of nepotism and favouritism by violating the provisions of law.”
The petitioners prayed the apex court to declare appointments of 48 officials illegal.
“The illegal and unlawful appointments of the respondents are creating a sense of deprivation in the G-B region as well as serious doubts about the integrity of the appointing authority,” said the petition.
It was also stated that currently 177 permanent employees were working in the establishment of the Supreme Appellate Court of G-B whereas sanctioned strength was 112 and 65 posts were not reflected in the News Item Statement (NIP) against whom respondents have been appointed, which was itself illegal and same was also a burden on the national exchequer.
The petition stated, “It has been a tendency of the Supreme Appellate Court G-B that the competent authorities have created temporary posts at the first instance in a colourful manner to accommodate their blue-eyed persons and later they have been absorbed on permanent basis without considering the fact that whether their services are essential for the functioning of the court.”
It was also stated that after promulgation of the G-B Order 2009, no person could be appointed, transferred and recruited against any post either in the administration of G-B or against any post in any court of G-B.
The petition said that the G-B Legislative Assembly passed dozens of unanimous resolutions demanding all the appointments in the establishment of G-B to be made from amongst the residents of G-B in letter and spirit.
Giving details about the alleged illegal appointments, the petition stated that Liaquat Hussain, who was working as Supreme Appellate Court registrar was serving as additional registrar.
His retirement was due on November 16, 2008 but he was re-employed on August 28 by the then G-B chief judge before his age of superannuation. The petitioners stated that the then chief judge gave incumbent registrar undue favour in violation of SC verdict in the Hajj scam.
Likewise, the petitioner, raising objection over the appointment of Usman Janjua as secretary Supreme Appellate Court (BPS-20), said that he was a permanent resident of Islamabad and son of the then deputy SC registrar.
He was working as stenographer (BPS-15) in Federal Judicial Academy till September 2009. Later, he was employed as secretary to chief judge in violation of the advertisement.
It was also noted that Muhammad Nabeel Idress, who was a permanent resident of Punjab, was the nephew of former Kashmir and G-B minister Barjis Tahir. He was also illegally appointed as personal staff officer.
The respondents No 23 to 41, all non-residents of G-B were appointed in gross violation of estacode beside the judgment of the apex court in a colourful exercise of discretion.
“This shows nepotism, favouritism and corruption as well as at the cost of these eligible candidates of G-B, who have their vested right of appointment against such position,” said the petition.
It was also stated that the respondents No 42 to 51 were those employees who were appointed in various BPS between one and seven in a manner not warranted by law and all of them were non-residents of G-B.
The petition also revealed that three officials had been appointed on March 12 when there was no competent authority for such appointments.
The petitioners prayed the SC to issue orders for an internal audit.