The Supreme Court on Thursday made all hirings in government institutions done across the country within the last one month conditional to its final judgement on a case pertaining to the restoration of an Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sanctioned ban on such recruitments.

The ECP had on April 11 barred the federal and provincial governments from hiring in all institutions; working on development plans approved on April 1 or later; and transferring funds for ongoing projects.

The ECP had stated that its decision was aimed at discouraging 'pre-poll rigging' through the use of government resources as incentives.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had on May 10 revoked the ECP ban, but it was subsequently restored by the apex court, which ruled that the ban would remain in effect till it decides the case.

During a hearing at the SC's Lahore registry on Thursday, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar stated that all recruitment and transfers of officials done over the last month would be conditional to its final ruling on the matter.

The CJP announced that the court will also review the postings and transfers for officers of grade 17 and above and decide whether they were based on merit or not.

He also remarked that officers of the Punjab Chief Minister's Office were being transferred to lucrative positions.

"Are some favourite officials being bestowed [with favours] days before the end of [the government's] term?" the CJP asked the Punjab chief secretary. He added that all such postings and transfers seem to be based on mala fide intent in light of the SC verdict.

"The current government could have left such transfers for the caretaker government," Justice Nisar remarked.

The court subsequently ordered the authorities to submit details of all transfers and postings approved by all provinces over the last month.

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