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SC issues contempt notice to Premier Khoso

Published May 10, 2013 02:28am


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Prime Minister Justice (retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso addresses the nation over TV and Radio networks in Islamabad on Friday, May 03, 2013. – PPI Photo

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso may be having sleepless nights because of concerns for holding elections in an orderly manner, but another trouble is in store for him. The Supreme Court issued on Wednesday contempt notices against him and other senior civil officers for violating one of its judgments.

“Prima facie the premature transfer [and] posting of at least 20 senior government officers seems to violate the Anita Turab case [judgment],” observed a three-judge bench headed by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja.

Mr Khoso is the third prime minister in recent past to be accused of committing contempt of court.

Earlier, former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani was convicted of committing contempt of court and subsequently disqualified on June 19 last year for not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. His successor Raja Pervez Ashraf faced the same charges but was let off the hook on Nov 14 last year when the apex court withdrew a contempt notice against him after he had written the letter to the Swiss authorities.

The bench took notice of the transfer and posting by the caretaker government of 20 senior officers on a petition filed by senior bureaucrat Shafqat Hussain Naghmi.

In its Nov 12, 2012, judgment in the Anita Turab case, the apex court had held that civil servants were not bound to obey illegal orders of their superiors because they owed their first and foremost allegiance to the law and the constitution.

Besides the competent authority (caretaker prime minister), notices under Section 3 of the Contempt of the Court Ordinance 2003, read with article 204 of the constitution, have also been issued to Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Khawaja Siddiq Akbar and Establishment Secretary Taimur Azmat Usman. They have been asked to submit within a week a reply explaining why the transfers/postings should not be declared null and void.

The officers posted out to different departments have been directed to appear in person at the next hearing the date of which will be fixed later.

Shafqat Naghmi, a BS-22 officer, was appointed as industries secretary on Aug 23 last year, but on April 3 this year he was removed and transferred to the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD).

The establishment secretary in a report on transfer of Mr Naghmi had relied on a notification issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) asking for a reshuffle in bureaucracy to ensure that elections were held in a transparent and impartial manner.

But the court observed that the ECP had not given any such instruction.

The establishment division informed the court that transfers/postings had been made on verbal instructions of the competent authority (caretaker prime minister).

Mr Naghmi informed the court that posts of some secretaries had been changed more than once within a month. Punjab chief secretary Nasir Khosa was transferred to the finance division as its secretary, but after eight days he was posted out to the textile ministry.

Similarly, Sami Saeed, chairman of the Planning and Development, Punjab, was appointed as industries secretary, but the notification was withdrawn within a few days.

Shahid Rasheed was transferred from the Board of Investment to the Ministry of Information Technology, but was again transferred to the industries ministry as secretary within 27 days.

Two grade-21 acting secretaries — Zafar Qadir and Abdul Khaliq — were transferred but after three weeks they were taken back. Mr Qadir, acting finance secretary, was transferred but brought back as special finance secretary within three weeks.

The ministries and departments which saw massive transfers include establishment, CADD, food security, communications, water and power, textile, finance, economic affairs, statistics, interior, national heritage, information technology, industries, production, Board of Investment, narcotics control, parliamentary affairs, national harmony and states and frontier regions.


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Comments (15) Closed

Usman May 10, 2013 03:49am
Mr. Khoso thought he could have a brief free for all while the nation is busy with elections. Well, the thought wrong.
Hasan Hasni May 10, 2013 03:09am
Contempt notice will be devalued soon
S.A.K.rahmani May 10, 2013 02:57am
It is really strange that that the apex court issues contempt of court notices in the absence of any contempt of court law on Pakistan's statute Book. Stranger is the fact that two ex prime Minisres have succumbed to the apex court's Orders.One wonders,where is the law.The courts are required to exercise powers as conferred on them by the Constitution and law.
Siddique Malik May 10, 2013 02:42am
The Supreme Court seems out of control. It has no respect for any prime minister. A caretaker P.M. comes in for a few weeks just for the sake of holding elections, and the SC involves him in legal matters, too. When is this judicial revolt against the rule of law end? How would it end? Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
Ayub May 10, 2013 05:55am
seems like SC has nothing else to do except issuing contempt notice::::::
Husain Jan May 10, 2013 05:42am
Mr Khosa is just a caretaker but it needs to be remembered that he is a nominee of most corrupt previous govt and so no surprise that he is acting like his predecessor and has thus damned care about SC judgment and also turned dear ear to many of and ECP directives. While the ECP felt helpless and could not get its directives implemented it is now upto SC to take "due care" of Khosa.
Eli May 10, 2013 05:49am
Does issuance of repeated judgements on crimes devalue those judgements?
Muhammad Asif May 10, 2013 06:43am
The SC should also take suo-motto on recent three promotions in a week for the son of Mr. Khoso. Since Khoso is a former judge, it is also harming the image of judiciary.
Rashid May 10, 2013 07:01am
Af administrative matters are to be decided by courts then declare CJ as PM as well
SHAFIQ KHAN May 10, 2013 07:39am
Our civil service is like our defence forces a law to themself. If Constitution was respected and the ultimate decider of the law and the constitution issues were respected the administration of the country would be easier. Here we have high officers as gods and act above their pay scale hence higher work load for the supreme court. The mess about the appointments in the higher civil service is because the civil service is heavily involved in politics. The changes were essential, the mistakes were equally understandable but above board working for the civil service is problamatic. Orders by word of mouth is laughable in a country where most politicians are less than honest. Feel sorry for the caretaker prime minister.He is caught among secretaries who do not know the way of working honestly. Shafiq
prai May 10, 2013 08:48am
contempt of court is tool to blackmail everybody ;it is misconduct by judges
ali ahmed May 10, 2013 08:53am
but no Contempt notice to Nawaz shareef for using Chief justice photo in the election campaign...published in jang dated 9/5/13
muzammil ullah khan May 10, 2013 10:24am
Who is running the country ? The courts or the executive ? I wish the Govt gives "contempt of Government" to the Supreme Court . These courts are like bulls in china shop and busy damaging the country .
Torontonian Desi May 10, 2013 12:08pm
What is up with this judiciary!?! Jab bhi daikho, "contempt of court" notice derahay hotay hain kissi na kissi ko. It's seriously ridiculous.
sr singh May 11, 2013 04:42pm
issuance of contempt of court notice to healthy sign of independence of higher judiciary which must be appreciated.Court is not an office of govt.department.