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Former Punjab RCS chief restored

LAHORE, May 14: The Lahore High Court on Monday set aside appointment of Zahid Bashir as Punjab Red Crescent Society chairman and restored the terminated chief Mian Muhammad Hanif.

The RCS managing committee members including Liaquat Ali Chishti and others had challenged the appointments of Bashir and of some committee members by the Punjab governor.

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah also set aside the appointment of six managing committee members, who were appointed by the governor.

The petitioners through their counsel had submitted that the governor being president of the RCS appointed Bashir as new chairman on Jan 6, 2012 by removing Mian Muhammad Hanif. He claimed that the impugned appointment was illegal as it was made after ignoring merit and purely on political grounds.

He alleged that Bashir soon after taking over charge as the RCS chairman started misusing his powers and wasting the society’s resources. He asserted that the society was to help the ailing humanity and it could not give results due to such appointments.

He requested to set aside the appointment of Zahid Bashir and also to restrain the governor from interfering in society’s affairs.

On the other hand, counsel for Bashir argued that the governor was fully authorised to remove and appoint new chairman of the RCS. He said according to section 5 of RCS Act, managing committee was authorised to12 make rules and the governor could appoint chairman.

He said the managing committee made rules against the law by stopping the governor from exercising his powers. The governor also had issued show-cause notice to the managing committee in this regard.

Against this argument, the petitioners’ counsel stated that according to the law, the governor could appoint the first chairman but not afterwards. He said the managing committee by amending the rules declared its consultation mandatory to make appointment of the chairman.

He said removal of Hanif and appointment of Bashir was made without consultation with the committee.

In this case Pakistan Red Crescent Society Central Chairman Maj Gen (retired) Chaudhry Muhammad Nawaz Khan had also appeared before the court and defended the appointment of Zahid Bashir.

He insisted that the governor was fully authorised to make appointments in the province. He said the appointment of Bashir was made in accordance with law. He said the petitioners (Liaquat Ali and others) were using cheap methods to blackmail the administration of the society.

The judge had already suspended Zahid Bashir and the six members of Punjab RCS managing committee.

On Monday, after counsels from both sides concluded their arguments, Justice Shah announced his decision and allowed the petitions against Bashir’s appointment and others.