In yet another blow to the government, the Supreme Court on Friday declared the appointment of the federal educational institutes’ directorate head illegal and ordered his removal.
The apex court directed the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) secretary to remove the unqualified person from the post immediately.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry with Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Jawwad Khawaja as its members, issued the order on a petition filed by Dr Shahnaz Riaz challenging the appointment of Atif Mahmood Kiyani, Director-General of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).
The petitioner contended that the respondent, who holds a bachelor’s degree, has been made head of two major educational institutions’ regulatory bodies — FDE and Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) while a number of genuinely qualified and senior officials were available.
The bench quizzed CADD Secretary Imtiaz Inayat Elahi for his inaction and defending the official.
Chief Justice Chaudhry, while showing his surprise, said, “It was not expected from a person like you. Instead of following the law and taking action against him [Kiyani] you decided to defend an incompetent, unqualified man.”
Elahi said he was not defending the official. “The matter came to my knowledge only three days before the petition’s hearing,” he explained. “Why did you not show the illegally-appointed DG the door within five seconds?” asked Justice Jawwad Khawaja.
“What would be the future of our children if their institutions are being run by a half-literate person,” remarked Justice Khawaja, while referring to Kiyani’s qualification.
Justice Khawaja also noted that Kiyani occupies a post for which the minimum requirement is a master’s degree with 17 years of experience in education and administration.
Chief Justice Chaudhry observed that under the relevant rules, if a post is not filled in six months, it will be considered abolished. He asked Elahi how he allowed the FDE head to hold his post for 11 months.
The court when questioned Kiyani about his professional experience in the field of education, he said that he is a shareholder in different private colleges in Rawalpindi.
Justice Hussain observed that this strengthened the case for Kiyani’s disqualification, as he also holds the office of private schools regulator.
Elahi assured the court that process to fill the FDE DG seat would be initiated, but said Kiyani will remain PEIRA chairman because “Unfortunately there is no condition of qualification for PEIRA’s chairmanship and the prime minister had appointed him against this post”.
Justice Hussain observed that even for PEIRA’s head, education is also mandatory, “otherwise how can a higher education body be run”.
Kiyani assumed charge of his office as FDE director general on May 23, 2011.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2012.