KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has summoned the chief secretary and local government secretary on Feb 9 on petitions for release of pension benefits to the retired employees of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).
A two-judge bench comprising Justices Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui and Adnan-ul-Karim Memon also warned that arrest warrants would be issued against both the officials if they failed to appear in person on the next date.
The bench was hearing a set of petitions seeking release of retirement benefits to the KMC employees.
The court noted that in pursuance of its order dated Dec 24, 2020 a bailout package was suggested by the provincial government and in this regard a summary was floated by the LG secretary, which was pending for approval before the Sindh chief minister and/or its cabinet in accordance with the law.
SHC makes it clear it would issue arrest warrants for CS, LG secretary if they fail to appear on Feb 9
Assistant Advocate General Ali Safdar Depar submitted that it would not take more than two weeks since it was about the retirement benefits and arrears.
The court observed: “We expect that this summary shall be considered in accordance with the law and report be filed within two-week time and in case after approval of such summary when the matter comes at the hands of the KMC, it is expected that each and every individual, who is entitled and deserved such monetary benefits shall be probed and then the amount be released at the end of the day, it is the KMC who would be responsible and accountable for such releases.”
The bench allowed an application filed on behalf of the provincial finance secretary for dispensing his attendance on account of his illness.
However, the judges took notice of the absence of the chief secretary and the LG secretary despite issuance of a clear order to them to appear before the court.
The court noted that the only reason assigned by AAG Depar was that they were engaged in an urgent meeting.
The judges observed: “We don’t consider this excuse to be reasonable since a judicial order was passed requiring attendance along with compliance. This apparently amounts to flouting the orders of this court.
“We are issuing notice to the Chief Secretary and Secretary LG for their personal appearance without fail, failing whereof we shall be constrained to issue bailable warrants as it on the face of this order is a defiance.”
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2021