PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday summoned the local government secretary and directed him to ensure the handing over of the office to Mardan’s city mayor within three days.

It also sought a report about the number of vehicles provided to deputy commissioners and other administrative officers across the province and the permissible engine capacity for those vehicles by July 13 and adjourned the hearing until then.

The orders were issued by a bench consisting of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Abdul Shakoor during the hearing into a contempt petition filed by Mardan city mayor Himayatullah Mayar, who accused the provincial government and his district’s deputy commissioner of not handing over office and official vehicle to him despite its orders.

The petitioner’s lawyer,Babar Khan Yousafzai,informed the bench that its orders issued to the government and district administration during previous hearing had not been followed as his client continued to be denied his office and vehicle.

Seeks details of official vehicles used by DCs

He also said moveable and immovable properties of the city council hadn’t been handed over to the local government.

The lawyer said in March this year, the high court had ordered the government to hand over assets of the former district governments to tehsil governments, while the government produced a notification claiming that all assets of local councils had been given away to the local governments.

He, however, insisted that the notification still awaited implementation.

Mr Yousafzai said the offices of the city council had been occupied by the district administration as well as the chairman of the District Development Advisory Committee, so the mayor didn’t get hold of his office.

He claimed that the vehicles, which should be with the mayor, had been given away to the assistant commissioners and additional assistant commissioners.

The bench observed that there was a certain limit to the engine capacity of vehicles, which the deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners and other administrative officers were entitled to.

It added that it would examine the kind of vehicles held by those administrative officers in different districts and if they’re entitled to them.

The lawyer pointed out that his client had earlier filed a petition seeking multiple reliefs.

He said the main prayer of the petitioner to the court was the issuance of orders to the provincial government and Election Commission of Pakistan for administering oath to the chairmen and members elected during the first phase of local body elections in 17 districts of the province on Dec 19, 2021.

Mr Yousafzai said during the pendency of that petition, the elected chairmen and mayors and members of tehsil councils and village and neighbourhood councils, respectively, were sworn in on March 15.

He said the petitioner had also sought the court’s orders for the government to notify the assumption of the respective offices by the council chairmen and members and hand over ‘movable and immovable properties, assets, staff, rights and liabilities’ of the last district governments to the respective tehsil governments.

The lawyer said the court had ordered on March 17 to issue the notification required for the handover of those properties, assets and staff to the council heads within 10 days.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2022

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