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PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday sought replies from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s speaker and provincial accountant general about a petition seeking recovery of salaries and other allowances claimed by the assembly’s secretary even though his appointment was declared illegal by the services tribunal.

Justice Mussarat Hilali and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim issued notices to the assembly’s speaker and KP accountant general and fixed Mar 21 for the next hearing directing them to explain their respective positions on the issue.

The petition is filed by a resident of Peshawar, Abdul Khaliq, requesting the court to issue directives to the accountant general for the recovery of salaries and other financial benefits drawn by Nasrullah Khan on account of the use of public office first as the special secretary and then as the secretary of the provincial assembly.

He also requested the court to issue necessary directions for the start of disciplinary proceedings against Nasrullah Khan saying despite being a civil servant, the secretary had little regard for law and court verdicts.

The respondents in the petition are KP Assembly Speaker, assembly’s secretary Nasrullah Khan, auditor general for Pakistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa accountant general.

During hearing, Justice Mussarat wondered how a government servant became so powerful that he continued to function violating the court’s clear orders.

Ali Azim Afridi, lawyer for the petitioner, said the seniority of Mr Nasrullah was disputed by the then additional secretary, Ghulam Sarwar, before the KP Services Tribunal.

He added that on Sept 14, 2017, the tribunal had decided the matter in favour of Ghulam Sarwar.

The lawyer said despite that order, Mr Nasrullah continued to serve as the assembly’s secretary.

He said the then speaker and Mr Nasrullah pursued their appeals before the Supreme Court but their cases were dismissed on Aug 28, 2018.

The lawyer said having no other option after the apex court’s order, a notification was issued on Sept 7 sending Nasrullah Khan back to the BPS-20 position of the additional secretary along with certain other officers.

He said within a month, another notification was issued on Sept 25 promoting Mr Nasrullah again to the position of the secretary though his promotion was earlier questioned by senior additional secretary Kifayatullah Afridi before the services tribunal.

The counsel said the services tribunal had accepted that appeal ruling that appellant Kifayatullah had become a victim of nepotism and unholy alliance of the Departmental Promotion Committee.

He added that the tribunal held that the respondents without waiting for the decision of the tribunal promoted Nasrullah to the post of the secretary and therefore, their action was against the law.

The lawyer said despite the tribunal’s clear orders, Nasrullah was bent on exercising the secretary’s powers on the speaker’s orders disregarding its legal ramifications.

He said Nasrullah had been using the office of the assembly’s secretary illegally and without lawful authority and that withdrawal of salary by him was uncalled for and against the law.

The lawyer said the palpable omissions taking place within the top legislative body of the province and that too on part of the speaker and secretary of the assembly was a violation of the judgments of the superior courts.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2019