Pakistan News

Govt barred from taking coercive action against Sindh Assembly official

Govt barred from taking coercive action against Sindh Assembly official

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has allowed the special secretary of the Sindh Assembly to continue to perform his services till Feb 7 after he filed a petition against his suspension.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro also directed the petitioner to cooperate with inquiry officer and restrained the respondents from taking coercive action against him till the next hearing.

The petitioner, Mohammad Khan Rind, impugned the legality of his suspension order issued on Jan 21 and issuance of subsequent charge sheet, inter alia, on the ground that he cannot be penalised for writing a letter to the auditor general of Pakistan asking him to conduct the forensic audit of the secretariat of the provincial assembly about misappropriation of over Rs581 million of funds in various heads of budget.

The lawyer for the petitioner, Ali Asadullah Bullo, argued that the petitioner had also invited the attention of provincial police officer to lodge an FIR about missing official vehicles of the secretariat of the Sindh Assembly.

The counsel further contended that there were various discrepancies in the appointments made in the secretariat and other illegalities committed by the officials in connivance with high-ups and thus petitioner needed protection of his services as well as life and liberty.

He also stated that the petitioner had filed comments in a petition filed in 2019 and assisted the court, which had become his crime and he had been punished by suspending his services in violation of the law laid down by the apex court in its various judgements including the case of Anita Turab reported in 2013.

The bench in its order stated that in order to appreciate as to whether service of the petitioner could be placed under suspension when he field comments in a petition in compliance of court order, notices be issued to respondents and advocate general Sindh with direction to file comments before next hearing.

“Meanwhile, the petitioner may continue to perform his services in the respondent-secretariat, however, he shall participate and cooperate with the inquiry officer and no coercive action and/or final decision shall be taken against him”, it concluded.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2023

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