Living rent-free is often a short-lived dream, which the Islamabad Police learnt the hard way after a court was informed on Friday that police officials owe over Rs55 million in rent.
A housing ministry estate officer informed the Islamabad High Court that since the beginning of their controversial occupation of 210 government flats in Sector G-6, police officials have failed to deposit rent, with the amount due now totalling Rs55.47 million. The flats were built at a cost of Rs250 million by the CDA in 1997 to house its own staffers.
After estate officers Falak Sher and Qaiser Mehmood informed the court that police officials had not deposited rent since 2007, IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui summoned Headquarters Superintendent of Police (SP) Malik Mohammad Yousaf to explain why he failed to execute court orders to end the illegal occupation.
On March 20, the bench had directed the inspector general of the Islamabad Police and the SP to get the flats vacated by March 29. However, the 20 police officers deputed to vacate the flats refused to take action against their brothers-in-arms, which irked the court.
The court expressed concern and directed SP Yousaf to appear in person on April 10 and explain why he did not take the matter seriously. The court also sought complete records of the 20 police officials so that formal contempt proceedings could be initiated against them. Justice Siddiqui observed that the police officials tried to frustrate the orders and undermine judicial proceedings. “The court is satisfied that the conduct of those police officials is not only contemptuous, but also a slap on the face of the judicial forum,” he observed.
The court later adjourned till April 10.
DG ISI served notice
In a separate case, Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan issued notices to top military and civil officers in response to a petition filed by four ISI employees seeking regularisation of service.
The four junior analysts, Sajjad Ali, Shahid Dilawar, Mohammad Shafiq and Gul Dad, had filed a contempt petition against the respondents in the first week of March and the court had disposed of the case after the respondents claimed they were working on complying with the order. Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt-Gen. Zaheerul Islam, Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Asif Yasin Malik and Establishment Secretary Taimur Azmat Osman were named as respondents.
On Friday, the court issued notices to the respondents in response to a fresh petition filed by the same employees seeking regularisation. Advocate Hafiz Arafat Ahmed said on behalf of the petitioners that his clients were hired in grade 18 on contract and had been working at the agency for many years without being regularised.
He maintained that during a recent parliamentary subcommittee meeting on regularisation, the names of his clients were withdrawn due to pressure from the ISI. He requested that the court pass orders for their regularisation, citing a December 31, 2012, IHC verdict ordering the regularisation of all government contractual employees including his clients.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2013.