KARACHI, Jan 27: Five hundred of the 1,500 water samples collected and tested by the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board were found unfit for human consumption, city district government counsel Manzoor Ahmed informed a Sindh High Court bench comprising Justices Khilji Arif Hussain and Arshad Noor Khan.

Submitting his comments on a petition moved by Advocate Islam Hussain for establishment of a safe water supply network in the city as supply through tankers was fraught with many risks, the counsel said the city district government and the KWSB normally obtain samples to ensure supply of clean water.

The CDGK found 25 of the 200 samples taken by it contaminated and took action against the suppliers.

The bench asked the KWSB what action was taken by it against those found supplying unhygienic water. The board was given a week to submit its report, after which the petition would again be taken up for hearing.

Govt restrained

The Sindh High Court restrained the provincial government from filling up vacancies caused by the dismissal of 40 employees of the culture and tourism and social welfare departments.

The petitioners submitted that they were appointed in grades 1 to 15 as permanent employees in November 2007. While they were performing their duties satisfactorily in the two departments, they were told to quit their jobs without being served termination letters in June 2008. No reason was given for their removal and their salaries were stopped without notice.

Their counsel, Ghulam Mustafa Veenjhar, argued before the bench comprising Justices K.A. Hussain and A.N. Khan that nobody could be deprived of their jobs without notice and the impugned government action was not only repugnant to their fundamental rights but also to the norms of natural law. While employees dismissed by the previous government were being reinstated with retrospective effect, low-paid workers recruited in 2007 or earlier were being deprived of their livelihood.

Adjourning the hearing to February 4, the bench restrained the respondent departments from filling up the vacancies caused by the petitioners’ dismissal.

Another petition moved by the sacked ‘naib qasids’ of district attorneys’ offices was also adjourned to Feb 4. Their counsel, Ilyas Awan, said the petitioners were still carrying out their duties as they had not been served with termination notices. Only their salaries had been stopped, which was unlawful.

Assistant Advocate-General Adnan Karim Memon submitted that the petitioners were recruited during the caretaker regime of November 2007-February 2008. The provincial cabinet decided to relieve all those appointed during the caretaker regime as it was inducted only to conduct free and fair polls and maintain law and order. The district attorneys had no authority to make appointments. The petitioners were not issued appointment letters and no notice was required to terminate their services, the AAG said.

Judges appointment

The petitions moved by the Sindh High Court Bar Association and the Sindh Bar Council against the transfer of authority to make subordinate judicial appointments from the high court to the provincial public service commission were adjourned to February 18 by another division bench consisting of Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Faisal Arab. The petitioners say that the transfer impinged on the independence of judiciary as the public service commission consisted of members without a constitutionally secure tenure of office. The SPSC would be amenable to political pressure and the executive would induct its favourite lawyers as civil judges and additional district and sessions judges.

Deputy Attorney-General Amer Raza Naqvi submitted on behalf of the federal ministry of law and justice that the issues raised in the petitions fell within the exclusive domain of the province and the federation was not concerned. Advocate-General Mohammad Yusuf Leghari was busy elsewhere and the SHCBA president Rasheed A. Razvi and SBC executive vice-chairman called for an interim order to suspend the operation of the impugned notification.

The CJ told the lawyers that a decision had been taken by the high court on the administrative side that no requisition for recruit of judges should be made to the government pending the disposal of the petitions. In the absence of a requisition, neither the government nor the SPSC could proceed with the selection of judges under the impugned notification, the CJ said, adjourning the hearing to Feb 18.

Power project

Justice Amir Hani Muslim, meanwhile, asked the SHC nazir to make an inventory of all movable and immovable assets of M/s DHA Cogen Limited and restrained the concern from creating any third party interest in its property.

The order was passed in two suits instituted by the United Bank and the Habib Bank separately for recovery of billions of rupees extended by them as loans to the defendant concern. Advocates Kazim Hasan, Sana Akram Minhas and Abdul Qayyum Abbasi informed the judge that the concern obtained loans from a syndicate of banks to set up an electricity generation and desalination plant by April 2008. The plant was to supply 94 megawatts of power to the Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation. However, it defaulted on its covenants and failed to set up the plant and perform other obligations.

Issuing notices to the defendants for Feb 3, the court restrained them from creating third party interest in their assets.

Aamir Khan’s plea

The CJ issued a notice to the prosecution in an application moved by Sabohi Khan Malik, wife of Mohajir Qaumi Movement chief Muhammad Aamir Khan.

The applicant said her husband was facing murder trial before the sixth additional district and sessions judge, district east. However, the court has been lying vacant since October 8, 2008, when the incumbent was transferred. Either the case should be transferred to another court or an ADJ should be appointed to fill the vacancy, she requested.

The applicant recalled that Aamir Khan had been in judicial custody since April 2004. Charges against him were framed in July 2006 and the trial court examined five prosecution witnesses till October 2008 when the judge presiding it was transferred.

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