ISLAMABAD: Several National Assembly officers, whose induction cost former Prime Minister and then Speaker Yousuf Raza Gilani a six-year jail term, face legal notices for their allegedly “illegal and unconstitutional” appointments.
The officers, inducted in the service of the National Assembly in 1993, were said to have political affiliations with then-Speaker Gilani, who was later elected Prime Minister in 2008.
In 2001, Mr Gilani was arrested and sent to jail for making “illegal” and “unconstitutional” appointments in excess of his powers as Speaker of the National Assembly.
The controversy involving the allegedly unconstitutional appointment by Mr Gilani recently resurfaced when the Gilani-loyalist officers filed a writ petition against some of their own colleagues.
The petition, filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) earlier this month, challenged the regularisation of a few officers who were brought to the lower house of Parliament by former Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza from other departments.
In 2008, Dr Mirza inducted a few dozen officers on deputation to work with her in the NA secretariat. According to a reply by the secretariat, some of them were later regularised after due consent from their parent departments and the Establishment Division.
Official documents obtained by Dawn.com revealed that the NA Secretariat was not pleased with the officers who, while forgetting the facts about their own inductions, targeted their colleagues.
The officers include Afzaal Ahmed Azad, Malik Moazzam Ali Kalru, Syed Hassan Murtaza Bukhari, Fayyaz Hussain Shah, Jawad Murtaza Naqvi, Aurangzeb Marral and Syed Sajjad Hussain Shah.
“The actions of your appointments were illegal and unconstitutional in view of the Fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 18 of the Constitution,” the show cause notice read.
During former military ruler General Musharraf’s regime, the officers moved to the Supreme Court against the first show cause notice they had received. The apex court had referred the matter back to the NA Speaker to reexamine the cases. However, none of the successive speakers ever took up those cases for final disposal.
Since they were already facing uncertain future, the petition they filed against their own colleagues has irked the NA Secretariat.
“The petitioners being recipient of show-cause notices felt the lurking danger and heard the sound of death knell hence invoked the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Hon’able Court under the garb of violation of fundamental rights to force Secretariat to put their own indiscretion on the back burner,” reads the NA Secretariat reply to the IHC.
Shahzad Raza is a freelance reporter. His twitter handle is @shahz79