Facebook posts land civil servant in trouble
ISLAMABAD: Expressing his opinions on social media may cost the newly appointed member finance at Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) his job.
A petition was filed at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the appointment of Noorul Haq for the post of Ogra member finance, in addition to allegations of misconduct on social media sites, Twitter and Facebook.
Before Mr Haq was appointed to the post on July 23, by the prime minister, he was working as the senior executive director (SED) finance and accounts at Ogra.
The petitioner Asghar Ali Chaudhry through his counsel Abdul Rehman Siddiqui, contended before the court that Mr Haq expressed opinions supporting and criticizing certain political parties, as well as criticizing the army.
The petition said, that “being a government servant, he (Haq) is required to stay away from political activities and from passing comments for or against parties and leaders, as outlined under the provisions of the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964 but his record speaks otherwise. This is evident from his messages on social media attached (with the petition).”
The petitioner submitted printouts of certain pages from Mr Haq’s social media accounts.
In various posts, Mr Haq had criticized the alliance between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) against a candidate of the Awami National Party (ANP) in local government elections in Bunir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In another post, Mr Haq highlighted the preferential treatment given by the incumbent prime minister to his brother Shahbaz Sharif over other chief ministers.
Ogra’s member finance also criticized the government for the change in the planned route for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (EPEC) route, saying that it was against Pakhtun rights, the petitioner said.
IHC Justice Aamir Farooq issued notices to the federal government and Ogra authorities after initial hearing on this matter.
The petition further alleged that Mr Haq is among those Ogra officials who are being examined for their alleged involvement in multi-billion rupee Ogra scam, in which former chairman Ogra Tauqeer Sadiq is the principal accused.
According to the petition, Mr Haq was the signatory for all the cheques issued during the tenure of Mr Sadiq and his case is under investigation in National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Mr Haq, it was alleged, has purchased a car under the monetization policy but had also drawn a car loan from the authority. According to the petitioner, Mr Haq had gotten a loan of Rs5 million approved on zero percent interest from the incumbent Ogra Chairman Saeed Ahmed Khan.
The petition alleged that Mr Haq has been drawing a sum of Rs77, 437 per month as motor car maintenance allowance, above his entitlement of Rs66, 000, adding that ex-auditor general of Pakistan (AGP) Akhtar Buland Rana was also facing similar charges and was ultimately removed from office.
Based on these allegations, the petition said that Mr Haq could not be called a person of integrity which is a prerequisite for holding the office of Ogra member finance.
After preliminary hearing, IHC Justice Farooq adjourned further hearing in this matter until a date to be decided by the registrar office.