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KARACHI, April 23: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday once again directed the Election Commission of Pakistan and all political parties to file their respective comments regarding the steps taken by them for removal of political wall chalking and graffiti in different parts of the city.

A division bench headed by Justice Faisal Arab was seized with the hearing of a petition of a civil rights campaigner seeking removal of barriers installed in various localities and wall chalking by political parties on public and private buildings and streets.

Petitioner Rana Faizul Hasan, secretary general of the United Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, impleaded chief secretary, local government secretary, additional chief secretary (home), inspector general of police, director general of Rangers and administrator of Karachi Municipal Corporation as respondents.

Earlier during a previous hearing, the court had noted that it was a matter in which political parties were actively involved and that “forced barriers, graffiti and political slogans were installed/affixed/painted not only on the public buildings but also on private buildings, public streets and wall of residences”

The bench had also put the secretaries general of all political parties and the ECP “for measuring the steps taken for removal of such wall chalking and graffiti and to regulate cleanliness in the entire city.

However, none of the respondents filed comments on Tuesday and the court once again directed them to submit their respective comments on the matter before the next date of hearing, i.e. May 8.

The court office informed the bench that notice had not been served so far on some of the political parties, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Mohajir Qaumi Movement, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, PML-Q, PPP Shaheed Bhutto, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Sunni Tehreek.

Meanwhile, Advocate Muhammed Naseem Siddiqui appeared in the court to file his power on behalf of the Jamaat-i-Islami and sought time for filing comments on behalf of the party.

Contempt notice

The SHC put on notice the local government board secretary on a contempt of court application for flouting its orders pertaining to promotions of petitioners, adds PPI.

Applicants Nadir and two others submitted that they had been working in the local government department as accountants in BPS-11. They said that they had been deprived of promotions for quite long, while other employees in the same department having same posts had been promoted.

They said the court on Oct 18, 2012 had said that they were entitled to same treatment as was given to other accountants and directed the secretary local government to finalize exercise of their promotion within two months. They said that six months had passed since then but the secretary had been ‘willfully’ avoiding implementing the court orders. The petitioners prayed to court to initiate contempt proceedings against him.

Comments sought

A division bench of the SHC, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, directed respondents and advocate general to file comments in two separate petitions against de-notifying the absorption of petitioners in the Provincial Civil Services (PCS) cadre.

Petitioner Mohammad Ayub Sanjrani submitted that he assumed the charge of additional secretary criminal prosecution services wing of the law department on April 4 and was absorbed in PCS cadre against an equivalent post in BPS-19. He contended that the chief minister approved the summary of de-notifying his absorption without providing any opportunity to him of being heard.

The other petitioner, Abdul Wahab Shaikh, submitted that he was a BPS-19 officer in Intelligence Bureau and was later absorbed in PCS cadre. He said that he was retained on the deputation and subsequently was absorbed pursuant to the newly adopted Sindh Civil Services Amendment Act 2013, which according to him provided legal shelter to his absorption.

The issue pertaining to the absorption of officers in different cadres and departments was being heard by the Supreme Court, he said, adding any action by the respondents would tantamount to interference in a subjudice matter.The petitioners prayed to the high court to restrain respondents from de-notifying their absorptions till the matter in question is decided by the apex court.