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Minister objects to postings and transfers

Updated May 20, 2013
Caretaker Law Minister Ahmar Bilal Soofi. — File Photo
Caretaker Law Minister Ahmar Bilal Soofi. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD, May 19: After the PML-N, caretaker Law Minister Ahmar Bilal Soofi has also criticised the postings and transfers being made by the government of Prime Minister retired Justice Mir Hazar Khan Khoso.

He warned the caretaker set-up against transgressing its mandate by making undue transfers and postings in important government departments.

In a letter to his cabinet colleagues a copy of which he also sent to the Prime Minister Secretariat and the establishment secretary, Mr Soofi said: “Cabinet members should abide by the legal limitation they enjoy under the constitution. They should not trespass the mandate of the interim government.

“I would again reiterate that we may continue the prevalent transparency and may not take action which may be counter-productive to the important role performed by the caretaker government.”

Talking to Dawn on Sunday, the law minister confirmed that he had highlighted in the letter the issue of unnecessary postings and transfers being carried out by some of his colleagues in the cabinet. But he did not mention any specific posting or transfer. He said the letter had been dispatched on Saturday.

In his letter Mr Soofi has also mentioned the cancellation of contract of two officials of the information ministry and the recent replacement of the National Highway Authority’s chairman. The letter also referred to a statement he had earlier made in cabinet that it was advisable to avoid making controversial appointments in major departments and leave them to the elected government.

In his press talk in Lahore on Friday, PML-N leader and former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif accused President Asif Ali Zardari of influencing the caretaker prime minister to make postings and transfers in various federal departments.

Mr Sharif, a known critic of the president, warned of action against those found involved in carrying out what he alleged orders from the Presidency.

President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar has denied the allegations.

RIGGING CHARGES: Mr Soofi said it was up to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to act on allegations of rigging. “It’s not our mandate to interfere in the commission’s matters,” he said, adding that if a candidate had solid proof of rigging he should approach the ECP.

COURT ASSET MANAGEMENT: The law ministry under Mr Soofi has worked on a proposal to set up a court asset management team to properly manage and upgrade at least 130 premises of the lower courts across the country. If the proposal is accepted by the next government, some six to 10 MBAs will have to be hired to prepare an inventory of all court assets and their existing resources. The proposed team will develop a long-term strategy for regular maintenance of the court premises.

The main objective is to provide proper facilities to hundreds of thousands of litigants. Litigants pay court fees but they do not get corresponding amenities such as sitting places and toilets. The law ministry intends to upgrade the court premises so that ordinary litigants develop confidence in state institutions.

After finalisation of the proposal it will be submitted to the Supreme Court for its approval in principle. If approved and properly executed the project will transform the outlook of lower courts and of judiciary throughout the country.