Remove DG FIA by March 16, SC tells govt -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Remove DG FIA by March 16, SC tells govt

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to remove the DG FIA Waseem Ahmed by March 16, otherwise the court will be compelled to take its own decision in this regard.

The court said the IG Sindh was removed on a court order and the DG FIA was retained, which is discriminatory. – INP

Sohail Khan adds: The Supreme Court on Tuesday termed the secret summary of the government pertaining to DG FIA as a “classified joke” of the year and observed that a device is being adopted to violate the court order.

Secretary interior on the directives of the court presented a classified document stating that the DG FIA Waseem Ahmed could not be removed from his office as he is dealing with matters of national security.

“A device is being adopted by the government to violate the order of this court,” Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked while heading a five-member bench of the apex court, hearing the case of contract employment of civil servants and alleged corruption in Haj arrangements.

Secretary Establishment Rauf Chaudhry after consulting the government informed the court that due to some problems, DG FIA Waseem Ahmed could not be removed from his office immediately as the official was dealing with matters pertaining to national security.

The court then directed the secretary interior to appear before it and produce reasons regarding continuity in office of the DG FIA. Later, a secret summary was produced before the court by secretary interior on the issue. The chief justice however observed that it would become a joke if someone read the secret summary. He said it should be kept as a secret document.

Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed observed that it was a best joke of the year while Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa remarked that it was a “classified joke”. The chief justice observed that the court is moving patiently. However, its orders are not implemented in letter and spirit. He further said that everyone knows how the court is dealing the matters as per law and the constitution.

“Where would be the rule of law in this country when court orders are not implemented in letter and spirit,” the CJ remarked adding “we are not against anyone but this is the principle of law”.

The chief justice further observed that the prime minister is very kind and cooperative adding in so far as the other administration is concerned even in the Presidency we have no difficulty.He further observed that the court knew that its independent decisions were not being liked as the culture was changing, adding the court had to carry out its duty at any cost.

Justice Ghulam Rabbani observed that a person who does not know the meaning of an investigation has been given important task. Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed observed that on every important post, corrupt and inefficient persons are being appointed and no one takes notice of it and when the court takes any notice, a hue and cry is created.

“For how long we could tolerate this,” the justice further remarked.Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, counsel for the federation, sought time from the court as he contended that he has no instructions from his client.

“What would be the possible solution to this matter,” the CJP asked the learned counsel. Pirzada however, submitted that he is not only representing his client but was also an officer of this court therefore, it is his moral duty to protect and preserve the rule of law and the constitution.

“The state without institutions is nothing and the constitution has to protect the institutions,” Pirzada submitted and sought time from the court.Abdul Hafeez Pirzada stated that on having received notice along with the order dated March 7, 2011, it has become necessary to submit reply on behalf of the Federation, as he said the scope of re-employment on contract basis has been enlarged by applying Article 9 of the Constitution, which deals with the fundamental right of a person.

The court pointed out to him that the Government of Pakistan was required initially to look into the cases of the officers of the disciplinary forces, like Police and FIA who have been re-employed on contract for different periods after superannuation, including DG FIA. But despite repeated observations of this court except removing/terminating the contract of some of the members of the disciplinary forces including provincial police officer Sindh and others, no further progress has been made.

The court observed that Wasim Ahmed, DG FIA, is still continuing against the same post although, without prejudice to his case on merits, this court has made observations against him from time to time regarding poor investigation of the case.

The court in its order observed that while other members of the disciplinary forces have been removed, his retention, prima facie, seems to be discriminatory, i.e. against the provisions of Article 25 of the Constitution because if all of them were serving on contract basis and according to the stand of the Federal Government, they were performing duties to the satisfaction, their services have been terminated but DG FIA, who is also a similarly placed person is continuing in office.

Jawed Bukhari, Additional Director General, FIA submitted a report before the court and stated that significant progress has been made in the investigation of the Haj scam case on the basis of which further incriminating material is being collected to ascertain the involvement of the persons in the commission of offence.

The court however, pointed out to him that he has to conduct investigation independently and he should make all out efforts to bring the culprits to book, whosoever they may be, and at the same time pace of the investigation should also be accelerated by collecting evidence as early as possible.

The court accepted the request of the counsel for the federation and sought response from the government about complying with the court orders pertaining to the removal of contract police officials including DG FIA and adjourned the hearing for March 16.

During the course of the hearing the secretary Establishment presented the list of contract officials working in 22 federal ministries and its subordinate departments and sought time for presenting the list of 24 other officers before the court.

Similarly advocate generals of the four provinces also submitted before the court details pertaining to contract employees. The chief justice lauded the efforts of the provinces to compile the lists of contract employees.

Advocate General Balochistan Salahuddin Mengal presented a report stating that in compliance with the court order, the chief secretary had directed all the provincial government departments to scrutinise the cases of re-employment on contract. He further informed the court that in response to the chief secretary’s direction, all the provincial government departments informed that none of their employ is re-employed on contract basis after superannuation/retirement.

Similarly, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government representative told the court that 14 persons, who were appointed on contract basis in the province, were removed from their posts.

During the proceedings, Justice Javed Iqbal pinpointed to Advocate General Punjab Khwaja Haris that some anchorpersons on TV channels use to say that the Government of Punjab is being run on stay order of the court. He asked the learned AG whether there is any such order.

Justice Javed Iqbal stressed to avoid politicisation on the basis of court. “Every action of the apex court is according to law and constitution,” Justice Javed Iqbal said. Khwaja Haris however, contended that there is no such order. “This is contempt of court,” he added.

The chief justice observed that nothing is secret and everything is clean and clear on the website of the apex court. He directed the AG Punjab to enquire from the registrar office if there is any such order. The chief justice further directed him that if anything he found in this regard, the court must be informed.

As per direction of the court, Khwaja Haris Ahmed, along with additional advocate general and assistant advocate general examined the Supreme Court website and other record in presence of 11 journalists in the office of the registrar regarding the alleged statements that Punjab Government is operating under a stay order, purportedly passed by the Supreme Court. After going through the record, no such pending case was found.

Further, to a query from a journalist, the registrar, Supreme Court responded that a party to such case, if any, or any person who has knowledge/information regarding such stay order purportedly issued by the Supreme Court under which Government of Punjab is operating, should bring it to the notice of the Court, so that the same may be fixed for hear as per directions of the Court.

The media persons may therefore kindly exercise restraint and avoid reporting such unverified information, he said. The chief justice directed Khwaja Haris to issue a press release in this regard, bearing his (Khwaja Haris’) signature. The advocate general Sindh told the court that 83 persons were working on contract basis in the province out of which 43 have been removed.

Online adds: Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that courts should not be pushed to the wall. “Attorney general is witness to it how much restraint we have demonstrated. We are being maligned. Allegations are being levelled against us. Courts be not pushed to the wall,” Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked.

“FIA is only an investigation agency. What relevance it has with national security. This report be kept classified and not made public,” Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said.

The court also directed that the pace of proceedings in Haj scandal case be accelerated. “FIA has slowed down the pace of investigation into Haj scandal. Rao Shakil has not been investigated so far. Hard earned money of people had been plundered at massive scale. This is not a small crime. We know FIA is under pressure,” the CJ remarked.

Additional DG Javed Bokhari said FIA had conducted raid on the minister’s home. Inquired by the court, Javed Bokhari said 200 people performed Haj on government expenses in 2009 and 248 in 2010. Notices have been sent to them and final report in this respect will be presented to the court.

“The list of these persons be also presented in the court,” Justice Ghulam Rabbani remarked. “Concept of Haj at government expenses is prevalent since 1947. Religion and ethics don’t allow it. This is money of the poor people and it should be spent on the uplift of poor segments of society. Take such steps which are aimed at curbing Haj at government expenses,” Justice Javed Iqbal observed.

The court inquired as to how the name of Rao Shakil was deleted from the ECL. FIA said it was told to them that Rao Shakil had been appointed as DG Haj, therefore, his name be deleted from the ECL.

“When DG FIA is appointed on contract then as to how others can work independently,” the CJ said. The court dismissed a petition filed by Zuflqar Bhutta that investigation into Haj scandal be got conducted by MI.

Secretary establishment told the court that prime minister was monitoring the matter. All the cases are being reviewed while some difficulties are in the way of removal of DG FIA, he said. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada counsel for federation told this job was beyond the authority of secretary establishment.

“Don’t make the atmosphere hostile. We are assessing all the matters as per law and constitution. But it is not known with what attitude the government is moving forward,” the CJ observed.

Court issued the orders that government had done nothing and removed only some police officers. DG FIA also falls under this category, which is sheer violation of article 45 of the constitution. The court allowed more time to government with respect to removal of contract employees.
Source: The News
Date:3/12/2011