Court directs Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees to withdraw transfer order of officers

Published June 14, 2021
The bench ordered that the commissioner should withdraw the impugned order. — APP/File
The bench ordered that the commissioner should withdraw the impugned order. — APP/File

PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench has ordered Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees commissioner to withdraw an order of transferring a male and female officer to Dera Ismail Khan and Haripur, respectively, or provide names of previous officers of same rank serving in the said districts.

A two-member bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar also ordered that the commissioner should appear in person on June 15, the next date of hearing a petition jointly filed by the two officers, who challenged their transfer order issued on March 11, claiming that they were victimised as they challenged certain acts of the administration before different legal forums.

The petitioners include a deputy director of Community Development Unit (CDU), Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees (CAR), Hajra Sarwar, and an assistant director, CDU, Mohammad Hamad, who requested the court to set aside the impugned order of transferring them to Haripur and DI Khan, respectively.

Advocate Saleem Shah Hoti appeared for the petitioners and contended that his clients along with few other officers of CAR were victimised as they had raised voice against different acts of discrimination on part of the CAR administration as well as that of harassment by some of the officers.

He pointed out that few months ago the administration also banned entry of the petitioners as well as three other officers including a female into the premises of CAR. He stated that the administration also stopped salaries of the petitioners.

Petitioners claim they have been victimised by admin

He said that his clients were not treated in accordance with law and Constitution of Pakistan.

After preliminary arguments of the petitioners’ counsel, the bench directed a deputy attorney general, Mohammad Taufeeq Qureshi, to inform the respondents including the commissioner about the petition and that he should appear.

An additional commissioner (security), Haider Ali, appeared on behalf of the commissioner stating that the commissioner was busy in a meeting with high-ups of UNHCR.

When questioned about the transferring of the petitioner to far flung districts, he said that it was because of their nature of duty.

When the bench further questioned whether prior to the present two petitioners any other officials of their rank were posted over there, he replied in negative stating that no such officer was posted there.

The bench observed when no officer of the rank of the petitioners had previously been serving in those districts that showed that the petitioners had been victimised just because of their approaching different legal forums about issues of the CAR.

The bench ordered that the commissioner should withdraw the impugned order or should produce any other order to show that an officer of the rank of the petitioners had previously been serving in those districts.

Meanwhile, the KP Anti-harassment Ombudsperson, Rukhshanda Naz, has imposed fine of Rs10,000 on two officers of CAR each as they neither appeared in a complaint filed against them nor filed any reply.

The ombudsperson observed that the act of the two respondents including the CPU project director and its chief finance officer showed their non-serious behaviour.

The ombudsperson was hearing the case on June 7. The ombudsperson fixed July 30 for next hearing also directing the CAR commissioner to submit a reply and explain why he had transferred the complainant Hajra Sarwar to Haripur.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2021

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