PST chairman’s appointment delayed

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The appointment of the Punjab Service Tribunal (PST) chairman has become a probable row between the governor and CM, as the Punjab government is weighing different options after the governor has delayed the appointment despite the CM’s “advice”, Pakistan Today has learnt. The Punjab Service Tribunal is the highest and the only forum available for provincial officers to redress their grievances regarding service matters after having gone through all appellate authorities, including the Punjab chief secretary. The Punjab government could move the Supreme Court (SC) in case it wants to challenge the verdict given by the tribunal. As per the Punjab Service Tribunal Act 1974, the tribunal is headed by a chairman, who is either “a judge or qualified to be a judge of a high court” and is appointed by the governor on “advice” of the CM for three years.
The term of the last PST chairman Justice (r) Jahangir Arshad expired recently and the Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) proposed a name to the CM, who moved a summary to the governor for appointing the new chairman. Sources privy to the development revealed that the Punjab government had received no reply from the governor on the matter so far. “Taking account of the situation the chief secretary also discussed the matter with senior most bureaucrats to weigh different options the Punjab government has in case the governor sits on the summary for a longer period or does not approve the CM’s recommendation,” they added.
This has caused a lot of inconvenience to all stakeholders across the province, as unlike the Lahore High Court (LHC) or FIA, the Punjab Service Tribunal has no other bench and only sits in the provincial metropolitan. Talking to Pakistan Today, Rizwan Gondal, a lawyer who deals in service matters, said the judicial court work has been ceased in absence of a chairman. “The members cannot perform any task individually since it is a judicial body,” he said, adding that due to this, the worst affected are the hundreds of appellants who are “hanging in the balance” because not even a single verdict has been passed in absence of the chairman. “A similar problem was faced a few years ago when the service tribunal ceased to work for several months, giving rise to a lot of inconvenience to all stakeholders and the same is expected in the circles this time around,” he said. “The problem becomes even graver because the tribunal only sits in Lahore and government servants from the far-flung districts of Punjab come here for their cases and have to return disappointed because the chairman has not been appointed. Whatever the political row between the governor and the CM, the people should not suffer,” Gondal added.