SHC seeks record of illegal appointments in Sepa
KARACHI, Aug 17: The Sindh High Court on Friday directed the director-general of the Sindh Environment Protection Agency and the secretary of the provincial environment department to place on record the entire record of the alleged illegal appointments in the agency on political grounds.
A division bench headed by Justice Shahid Anwar Bajwa was seized with a petition of 42 candidates who challenged the appointments in Sepa on posts of BPS 1 to 15.
The petitioners impleaded the chief secretary, environment secretary, Sepa DG and others as respondents and submitted in the petition that they had applied for different posts in Sepa in response to an advertisement in the newspapers in August 2011.
They alleged that the authorities issued call letters to only favourite candidates, while their call letters were deliberately sent at wrong addresses to deprive them of the opportunity and oblige the favourite candidates.
The petitioners submitted that they approached the provincial environment minister with a request to postpone the
appointments, but he rejected their request.
They prayed to the court to grant stay on the appointment process and order the respondents to ensure transparency in appointments.
The bench put off the hearing to Sept 13, directing a Sepa official present in the court to communicate to the respondent secretary and SEPA DG to produce the whole record in court on next hearing.
‘No clue to the missing doctor’
The Sindh High Court was informed that no evidence was found from the named suspects in the kidnapping of Dr Shakeel Palh.
The court was seized with petitions of the Pakistan Medical Association Hyderabad and provincial lawmaker Mohammad Sheryar Khan Mahar against the kidnapping and murder of neurosurgeon Dr Aftab Ahmed Qureshi and the deteriorating law and order situation in Shikarpur.
The petitions were filed by the PMA, Hyderabad, and Mohammad Shaharyar Khan Mahar, an MPA of the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-i-Azam), against the kidnapping and murder of Dr Aftab Ahmed Qureshi and the worsening law and order situation in Shikarpur.
In the petition, Mr Mahar stated that the law and order situation in Shikarpur was no different than Karachi’s as 18 people were killed and six to seven others kidnapped every month.
The petitioner submitted that the law-enforcers had lost morale as criminals often attacked police stations, while some remote areas gave the impression as if there was no policing in the district.
He alleged that no action was being taken against criminals because they were being patronised by government functionaries in some cases.
He said the citizens were left at the mercy of the criminals and unscrupulous elements within the police department.
He prayed to the court to appoint an honest and brave police officer in the district to control the law and order situation.
In a letter sent to the chief justice, the PMA Hyderabad chapter sought action against culprits involved in the kidnapping of doctors and killing of Dr Aftab Ahmed. He was murdered after being kept in captivity for more than 20 days.
The chief justice converted the applications of the legislator and the PMA into a constitutional petition and directed the office to set the matter before the court.
The court had constituted a joint investigation team to investigate the doctor’s kidnapping in Qasimabad. The JIT report stated that no evidence came on record to show that Dr Shakeel Palh was kidnapped by the nominated suspects.
Missing man case
A division bench headed by Justice Shahid Anwer Bajwa issued notices to the chiefs of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Sindh Rangers and police and others on a petition seeking the whereabouts of a man who was allegedly detained by a law-enforcement agency.
Petitioner Umer Ali Siddiqui, represented by Syed Abdul Waheed, moved the court through a constitutional petition submitting that his brother Mohammad Faiq Siddiqui was picked up by personnel of a LEA from his office in PECHS Block 6 on Aug 10.
The petitioner’s counsel stated that the detainee was working as a manager in a vehicle tracker company and had nothing to do with any criminal, political or sectarian activities.
He requested the court to direct the respondents to produce the detainee before the court and provide details of cases, if any, against him.
The bench issued notices to the federal and provincial law officers to call comments from the respondents, and put off the hearing to Aug 30.
The relief commissioner for flood affectees was directed on Friday by the SHC to submit details of the funds available for disbursement to the contractors who provided relief goods and services to the flood victims.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam was seized with the hearing of identical petitions of the contractors who moved the court for the payment of their dues of over Rs240 million by the relief commissioner.
Petitioners Makhdoomzada Syed Ali Raza Bukhari and other contractors submitted that they provided food and transport services to flood affectees and internally displaced persons on humanitarian grounds but the relief commissioner had not cleared their outstanding amount of Rs240 million despite a year had passed.
The finance department submitted in the comments that Rs4,330 million had been sanctioned for flood relief activities and it was up to the relief commissioner to pay the dues.
The bench observed that a large number of contractors, who were directed to provide relief activities to the IDPs, were not paid their dues while payment was given only to one contractor which was discriminatory and favouritism.
The court directed the additional advocate general present in the court to convey displeasure of the court regarding discrimination in payment of dues to contractors and directed that no special treatment be given to any contractor in the future and if any amount was released for payment, it should be paid on a priority basis to all contractors.
Peafowl protection case
The Sindh Wildlife Department, its conservator and others have been put on notice by the Sindh High Court on a petition seeking preventive measures for peacocks in Thar, where more than 100 birds have reportedly perished.
The petition was filed by Rana Faizul Hasan, general secretary of the United Human Right Commission for South Asia, who submitted that over 100 peacocks died in the last couple of weeks due to the deadly viral disease commonly known as Ranikhet, but the wildlife department failed to take preventive measures to save the beautiful species in the province.
He said over 70,000 peacocks were present in Thar and forests of the province and they required proper care by the wildlife department. However, he said, due to negligence and lack of care by the authorities concerned an epidemic broke out, killing the over 100 peacocks there.
He prayed to the court to direct the wildlife and authorities to take appropriate measures to save the peacocks by vaccinating them and call an explanation from the wildlife department about the deaths.