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SC refuses to discharge contempt notice against interim PM Khoso

07 June, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the plea to discharge contempt of court notice against former caretaker prime minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, the Supreme Court has directed the incumbent principal secretary to the prime minister (PSPM) to submit the summaries along with relevant record of the posting and transfer of 22 federal secretaries by Khoso in violation of the court's judgement in Anita Turab case.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja is hearing the contempt of court case against the former interim PM, former PSPM and former Establishment Division secretary regarding appointment and transfer of 22 federal secretaries in violation of the court's judgement in Anita Turab case. The petition was filed by Shafqat Hussain Naghmi, a BS-22 officer of Secretariat Group and Imtiaz Inyat Elahi, CAD secretary.

The court also rejected former PSPM Khawaja Sadique Akbar's offer to share the documentary evidences with the bench in-camera, saying that now everything will be shared in open court. It must be noted that the former PSPM has submitted that all the transfers and postings after the May 11 general elections were made on the basis of reports and summaries received from the ministries concerned, highlighting and underscoring need for change of incumbents either for inefficiency, incompetence or on grounds of unsuitability.

Justice Jawwad Khawaja observed that between the lines, Sadique Akbar had tried to establish that all the secretaries were transferred on the basis of corruption. The counsel for the interim PM and two other respondents, Arif Chaudhry, submitted before the bench that the interim PM had withdrawn transfer and posting orders of over 20 federal secretaries and had also expressed regret in his reply, therefore show-cause notice to him should be discharged.

Rejecting his plea, the bench said that it was not an apology as he was explaining something. Likewise, it said that there was a conflict between the interim PM's reply and former PS to PM's statement as he was offering in camera proceedings to present evidence and documents about these transfers. Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said that the court had never initiated contempt proceedings for the satisfaction of ego but to maintain respect of judiciary. He also said that the petitioners had no objections if the respondent shares evidences to justify their transfers in open court.

Arif Chaudhry contented that after expressing regret and withdrawal of transfer and posting orders, there was no status of Khawaja Sadique Akbar's reply. He also requested the court to deal with the contempt matter of former interim PM and Establishment Division secretary separately from former PS to PM contempt case. The bench, however rejected his plea and directed the incumbent principal secretary to PM to submit the summaries along with relevant of record about the posting and transfer of 22 federal secretaries by the interim PM. The hearing of the case has been adjourned until June 20.

It is noteworthy that former PSPM Khawaja Sadique Akbar is also facing contempt of court notice in the same case. He has already submitted a two-page reply and expressed willingness to present documentary evidence before the court, if needed, but in camera, not in the open court. "Without naming individuals, documentary evidence can be presented in camera, if so desired by this apex court," stated Khawaja Siddique Akbar in the two-page statement he submitted.

In his reply he explained that the only consideration before the competent authority was public interest and good governance, without any extraneous considerations. He also requested the court to afford him an opportunity to explain and elaborate in person, but in camera, the evidence and documents available with him to assist the court to come to a just and right adjudication of the matter.

He explained that the all the transfers and postings after the May 11 general elections were made on the basis of reports and summaries received from ministries concerned, highlighting and underscoring need for change of incumbents either for inefficiency, incompetence or on grounds of unsuitability. They were made with the approval of the competent authority (caretaker prime minister) and the ECP was also duly intimated in this respect, he added.

End.

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