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Supreme Court of Pakistan. — File Photo
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday admitted for hearing a petition filed by PML-N leader Khawaja Mohammad Asif challenging transfers and postings as well as shuffling of senior government officials by the caretaker government.

The petition, filed by Asif’s counsel Syed Safdar Hussain, had requested the court to declare the actions taken by the caretaker government as unconstitutional, illegal and void ab initio. The constitutional conventions command and mandate the caretaker set-up only to the extent of holding free and fair elections.

In this respect, today, the chief justice directed Attorney General Irfan Qadir to take directions from the government and apprise the court on those.

The caretaker government has been directed to file a response on the matter by June 4.

Moreover, the court suspended the appointments and transfers. However, appointments and transfers of a routine nature remain exempt.

High-level appointments, reshuffle

Asif had provided the court with a list of senior officers who had been transferred, posted out or shuffled. According to that list, National Highway Authority chairman Hamid Ali Khan was replaced by Sajjad Hussain Baloch on May 16, Nepra chairman by retired Justice Ahmad Khan Lashari on the same day, SNGPL’s managing director Arif Hameed by Amin Tufail on May 15, SSGCL’s managing director by Rahat Kamal Siddiqui on March 15 and Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation’s managing director Khalid Khokhar was replaced by Saifullah Khan.

Similarly, National Fertiliser’s chairman Rizwan Mumtaz Ali was removed on May 9, Oil and Gas Development Corporation’s managing director Masood Siddiqui on May 6 and the State Life Corporation’s chairman on May 16. The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation chairman’s has reportedly been removed.

The chairman of Pakistan Software Export Board has been replaced by Saleem Ahmed Ranjha, who was inducted directly by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Asif’s petition moreover stated that FIA’s director general appointed a month ago was also reported to be in the process of being replaced, adding that certain employees/officers of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had reportedly been removed without following the procedure envisaged in the relevant statute.

It also stated that a number of mid-level staff in corporations/bodies had also been shuffled, transferred or removed.