ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued a stay just a day before a meeting of the departmental promotions board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), which was scheduled to consider the promotion cases of additional directors for the post of director.

The Drap board, which comprises the national health services (NHS) secretary and joint secretary and representatives of the Establishment Division and the Ministry of Law and Justice, were scheduled to meet on Feb 20.

IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb after a preliminary hearing of a petition filed by a grade 20 Drap officer restrained the board from holding the meeting until further orders.

The court also sought a response from the Drap chief executive officer and the NHS and establishment secretaries in a fortnight.

The petitioner Dr Abdul Rasheed through his lawyer Ali Nawaz Kharal adopted before the court that Drap consists of employees of its own as well as civil servants. The counsel pointed out that there is no equal opportunity for Drap employees and civil servants, adding that the board was scheduled to consider junior Drap officials while ignoring senior civil servants.

The counsel told the court that the Drap rules have not yet been framed but that under section 7(m), 14(1) and 15(5) of the Drap Act the authority could frame the rules with the approval of the cabinet.

He claimed the authority amended the Employees Service Regulations without the approval of the federal government and asked the court to declare the relevant statutory regulatory order (SRO) illegal. He also asked that directions may be issued to the relevant authorities to consider the cases of all the employees working at Drap.

NHS secretary issued notice

IHC Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani issued a notice to NHS Secretary Malik Allah Bakhsh on a petition filed by the registrar and other Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) staff for not implementing a court order reinstating council employees.

On Feb 11, Justice Kayani revived the dissolved PMDC by setting aside a presidential ordinance that replaced it with the Pakistan Medical Commission.

PMDC registrar Hafizuddin Siddiqui filed a contempt petition before the court since the reinstated employees were not allowed into the PMDC building.

The court also summoned district administration officials and asked why they had sealed the building. The additional deputy commissioner responded that the building was not sealed.

On Feb 13, the NHS ministry issued directions to seal the PMDC offices, because of which reinstated staff who approved the building were not allowed in. The court expressed displeasure with this notification and, after issuing the notice to the NHS secretary, adjourned further proceedings until March 25.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2020