A petition challenging the appointment of Najiullah Khattak as the media adviser of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government’s media cell has been filed in the Peshawar High Court.
Lawyer Shakeel Ahmad filed the petition on behalf of journalist Shaukat Hayat Khattak, who has appealed to the court to declare Najiullah’s appointment illegal, claiming it is based on political favours.
Najiullah has been named a respondent in the petition along with the provincial chief secretary, information secretary, information director and public relations and culture department.
According to Shaukat, the K-P government advertised several vacant posts on December 6, 2013, including that of media adviser, but then proceeded to hire Najiullah without following proper procedure.
Shaukat’s petition states that he had the requisite qualifications and therefore applied for the post of media adviser.
It adds the candidates were shortlisted and call letters for interviews were issued to them, however, Najiullah’s name was not on the said list.
“The name of the respondent was subsequently included in the list of shortlisted candidates with mala fide intentions 40 days after the closing date,” the petition states.
Najiullah was thereafter appointed media adviser on July 7, 2014 in violation of merit and on political consideration even though he does not have the relevant qualifications, it adds.
According to the petition, prior to his appointment, Najiullah was serving as the vice-president of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Karak district chapter, and in order to adjust him in the provincial media cell, the government officials, also named as respondents, changed the qualifications required for the contested post.
“The incumbent media adviser (Najiullah) holds a Bachelors degree in 2nd division but in order to give him an edge over the petitioner, he was awarded marks given to 1st division candidates, which speaks of mala fide intentions on the part of the chief secretary and information secretary,” the petition reads.
Shaukat also alleges that Najiullah claims he has an MBA degree from Philippine Christian University in Manila, however, during the period that he was reportedly studying he was also serving in the British Council and the Institute of Business Management in Pakistan.
Moreover, the petition states Shaukat has the necessary qualifications for the job and was also shortlisted on merit, but “the respondents ignored him.”
The petitioner requested the high court to declare Najiullah’s appointment illegal and direct the information secretary to appoint Shaukat as media adviser based on merit.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.