SHC issues contempt notices to Secretary I&B, DG APP


A two-member bench of Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered that contempt notices be issued against Federal Information Secretary Taimur Azmat and Managing Director Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) Rao Tehsin Ali Khan.
The bench comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui heard Barrister Farogh Nasim counsel for the petitioner who maintained that the alleged contemnors in violation of judgment of the SHC passed in CP-D 2376/ 2011, had given a written undertaking not to hire employees in the state-controlled news agency, in violation of merit and service criterion.
The statement given by the APP management had pledged to the Sindh High Court to release payments of outstanding medical facilities, night and overtime allowances and salary to the petitioner and other employees.
The management had also promised to make all future appointments “strictly in accordance with law, procedure, merit and in keeping with the sanctioned strength, while shunning all political or other pressures.”
The APP management had stated that “except as provided in the decisions of the Supreme Court in PLD 2011 SC 277 and 2011 SCMR 582, the appointments of all retired employees, who have been given extension or employed/re-employed on contracts or in regular cadre will be annulled.”
The APP had also put on record the Audit Report of Auditor General’s Office, which stated that “the appointments made in Grade-I directly in Associated Press of Pakistan Corporation are not according to the law and are illegal.”
The counsel submitted that petition was disposed off on March 19 after which alleged contemnors allowed employees on contract not only to continue, but also from March 22 onwards, 60 more persons were hired against different non-existing, non-sanctioned posts.
The bench allowing the application for urgent hearing and another application for contempt of court ordered issuance of notices to the alleged contemnors for a date in office.
The petitioner questioned the APP management decisions to employ over 500 persons without advertisement in news papers on contract basis. The APP despite the SHC order initiated the process of regularization despite non exiting vacancies and depleting financial resources of the APP Corporation.
The petitioner also requested to the court to look into misappropriation of Rupees 112 million from the account of Contributory Provident Fund of the employees of the national news agency.