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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed the chief secretary to submit a comprehensive reply on a contempt of court application against Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah for not convening a meeting of the provincial cabinet to consider the inspector general of police’s submitted draft of new rules for transfers, postings in the police department as per law.

The application seeking contempt proceedings against the chief minister was filed by civil rights campaigners, represented by Advocate Faisal Siddiqi.

The counsel submitted that on Sept 7, 2017 the court in its judgement in A.D. Khowaja removal case, had directed the police chief to draft new rules for setting the manner of transfers and postings and submit the same before the provincial cabinet.

Sharjeel Memon’s bail plea hearing adjourned

He said that complying with the court’s directives, IGP Khowaja had drafted new rules and sent them to the provincial cabinet on Oct 6.

Advocate Siddiqi said the provincial cabinet was supposed to consider new rules in its meeting specifically called for the purpose within 15 days of receiving the same from the IGP but the meeting was held after a delay of seven days and the drafted rules were not considered.

During a previous hearing, IGP Khowaja had also confirmed the petitioner’s claim and informed the court that he had drafted and sent new rules to the Sindh cabinet. “I had submitted my recommendations regarding new drafted rules for transfers, postings to the provincial government,” the IGP had told the judges.

The court had on Dec 12 last year once again directed the Sindh government to convene its meeting within 15 days to consider the drafted rules as per law and submit the report before it.

The applicants’ lawyer argued that despite clear directives of the court, the provincial government had failed to consider the drafted rules; therefore the contempt of court proceedings should be initiated against the CM and others.

The bench sought a comprehensive reply from the chief secretary on behalf of the CM and put off the matter to Feb 20.

Rs5.76bn corruption case against Sharjeel Memon

The Sindh High Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of a post-arrest bail plea of the Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker and former provincial minister Sharjeel Inam Memon in a Rs5.76 billion corruption case after hearing the final arguments of the applicant’s counsel.

Headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh, a two-judge bench put off the hearing to Feb 15 when special public prosecutor of the National Accountability Bureau would forward his arguments.

Mr Memon’s counsel, Advocate Latif Khosa, asked the court to grant his client bail on medical grounds as the doctors had advised immediate surgery to the former minister.

One of the bench members remarked that the interned PPP leader could be operated by the surgeon of his own choice at the Civil Hospital Karachi. “We could pass an order for his treatment by the best doctors at the hospital, if he wishes so,” he further said.

However, Advocate Khosa did not accept the court’s offer saying that according to the Supreme Court’s orders, no court could bind an inmate to be treated by a specific doctor or at a specific hospital.

He contended that it was purely a patient’s right to acquire medical facilities of his own choice.

The counsel said the PPP leaders were willing to face the cases as Dr Asim Hussain and Sharjeel Memon had returned to the country and were appearing before court.

Sharjeel, with officials of private advertising agencies and others, was booked by the corruption watchdog for causing billions of rupees loss to the national exchequer through ‘embezzling’ in the Sindh information department’s electronic campaign.

According to NAB, the PPP lawmaker and 17 others, in connivance with one another, had caused a Rs5.76bn loss to the national exchequer through embezzlement in the Sindh government’s advertisement campaign on electronic media.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2018