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Stay orders remain in full force and effect against removal of several heads of key entities by the Khan administration. On June 14, The Islamabad High Court issued a stay order against the federal government's notification removing former federal tax ombudsman Muhstaq Sukhera.

The court ordered that the law ministry notification removing Sukhera would remain suspended. Former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Punjab, Mushtaq Sukhera was appointed federal tax ombudsman in Aug 2017 by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.

The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) chairperson Vadiyya Khalil along with two members - Dr Muhammad Salim and Shehzad Ansar - obtained stay orders in Islamabad High Court (IHC) against their termination.

The IHC, in its short order on Nov 3, 2018, suspended the operation of the govt's notification of CCP members' termination. The federal cabinet, in its meeting on October 4, 2018, terminated the Chief Executive Officers of four government-owned banks, two deputy governors of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and three members of CCP including its chairperson.

The dismissal of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman (Policy Board) Khalid Mirza was challenged and the court suspended the govt's Aug 23 notification for Mirza's dismissal.

The petitioner argued that a member can only be removed in a manner described in Section 18 of the Act of 1997. Khalid Mirza was appointed to this post in Nov 2018 for four years.

Recently, charge of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) chairman to Additional Secretary Muhammad Ayub Chaudhry Ministry of Food Security and Research secretary was also challenged.

In a written order, the IHC chief justice asked the government why a person eligible in accordance with Section 9 of the PARC ordinance 1981 had not been appointed as yet.

In Sep, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) declared before the IHC that the order issued by President Dr Arif Alvi for the Aug 22 appointment of two ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan was the violation of relevant clauses of the Constitution.

In a related development, opposition parties condemned the reported government move to file a reference against Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) former Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan for refusing to administer the oath to the ECP members and warned of serious consequences.

"The government has no criteria or commission to monitor the performance of bureaucrats and PM Office is issuing termination notices of the bureaucrats having least information about the performance of bureaucrats", Advocate Supreme Court Muhammad Shoaib Shaheen told Business Recorder.

He further said the bureaucrats may refrain from taking any major policy decision during the interim relief obtained from the court of law which is challengeable.

Audit report of Public Sector Entities 2018-19 submitted before the parliament, revealed that public sector enterprises were making fresh appointments, re-employing retired personnel and appointing consultants without observing regulations. Shortcomings in the hiring process were identified in the cases of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), National Insurance Company Limited (NICL), House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC), Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) and Utility Stores Corporation (USC).

The audit officials suggested that appointments may be made in transparent manner and according to the respective HR policies of the organizations with due regard to government policies on the matter.

Sixteen cases of irregular appointments of officers in 101 public sector entities run under federal government cost Rs 1303.56 million, the audit report pointed out.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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