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SC questions police officer’s promotion

April 27, 2007

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ISLAMABAD, April 26: The Supreme Court on Thursday wondered how a person got promoted contrary to the recommendation of a state department for being allegedly corrupt while the prime minister himself cancelled the promotion of the one who was recommended by the selection board.

The observation came during a promotion case of Major (retd) Fateh Sher Joyia from the post of senior superintendent of police to deputy inspector general of police before a three-member bench comprising Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, Justice Falak Sher and Justice M. Javed Buttar.

In 2004, the selection board of the Federal Public Service Commission had recommended promotion of Fateh Sher to the post of DIG but the prime minister office had ignored the suggestion and ordered the promotion of Zafar Abbas Lakh and Zafar Abbas Qureshi instead whose names were not even present on the promotion list. The name of Mr Qureshi was later withdrawn.

The office of the public service commission should be abolished if the job of the selection board has to be done by the prime minister, Justice Falak Sher observed. What kind of good governance was this where a person who was being openly declared corrupt by a government department was promoted without selection board’s recommendation, while the promotion of the one who passed through the selection was cancelled by the prime minister, he maintained.

However, Deputy Attorney-General Nahida Mehboob Ellahi told the bench that the promotion of the petitioner had been cancelled by the prime minister on some adverse reports of the Intelligence Bureau.

But Justice Javed Buttar reminded that the IB was sought after a month of submitting selection board’s recommendation to the prime minister.

The bench also observed that the future of government employees could not be left at the mercy of the IB or the Special Branch.

“Whether corruption is the priority of this government,” Justice Falak Sher questioned and told the DAG that the case study showed that the selection board had opposed the promotion of Zafar Abbas Lakh because he was wanted to the National Accountability Bureau for his alleged involvement in a Faisalabad land scam.

The bench also directed the DAG to provide the reports of the NAB and that of the IB on Friday.

The DAG requested the court to grant a week for provision of the reports, but Justice Falak Sher recalled that whenever time was given in such cases, either the bench was reconstituted, or the counsel was changed or even the applicant was fired from his job.

Akram Sheikh, the counsel of the petitioner, informed the court that Zafar Abbas Lakh had been promoted because he was the son-in-law of Chaudhry Tajammul Hussain, a cousin of the Punjab chief minister.

It seemed that some people wanted to embarrass the prime minister and the chief minister by scandalising them because similar allegations had also been levelled against Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who was facing a reference on misconduct, the bench observed.