The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) on Wednesday suspended all the postings and transfers made by the caretaker government, saying personal likes could not be allowed to deride merit.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard the case against postings of 13 high-ranking officials by the caretaker government.
The postings included managing directors of Sui Southern and Northern Gas Pipelines, National Highway Authority chairman, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) chairman, Pakistan Mineral MD, National Fertilisers chairman, Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) MD, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) DG and officers of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
In its orders‚ the apex court declared that the caretaker government had no mandate for posting and transfers of government officials.
“Its only job was to hold general elections besides looking into daily affairs of the state,” the court said.
The bench directed the federal government to submit its reply in the case on the next hearing, the 4th of next month.
In an unprecedented move, the caretaker government of Balochistan announced the creation of two more districts, Sohbatpur and Lehri, days before its departure.
Sources said the reason for this was not administrative, but political. Dividing the Khosa and Domki strongholds would allegedly benefit both the outgoing Balochistan caretaker CM and the caretaker prime minister.
Caretaker Chief Minister Nawab Ghaus Bakhsh Barozai’s brother lost the elections in Sibi. It is, reportedly, after this incident that the decision to separate Sibi from Lehri was taken to ensure that Barozai retained his seat from Sibi.
Hailing from Sohbatpur, caretaker Prime Minister Khoso was also seen supporting a candidate who eventually lost to Mir Zafarullah Jamali from Jaffarabad constituency. Khoso, upset at the defeat, reportedly separated Sohbatpur from Jaffarabad district to ensure undivided political influence in the region in the future.
During the hearing, the SC remarked that the caretaker government could not make any appointment and posting that might affect the policies of the incoming government.
The CJP said, “The new government should know well that appointments of choice and against the norms of merit will not be allowed. Doctrine of merit will stand implemented for the sake of good governance and the discretionary powers will also have to be exercised in the light of verdicts of the court.”
Khawaja Asif said the caretaker government was a government of limited powers. “The sitting government has made new appointments, transfers and temporary appointments during election days. Appointments were made in sensitive institutions like NEPRA. Member legal was sacked in IT. Contract was awarded in PIA for which the caretaker government was not authorised. Their mandate was only to hold transparent elections and they could not formulate policy. They cannot steal the mandate of the new government.”
The CJP said a new government was in sight and “it will also have to maintain the highest standard of transparency and bring to end the culture of likes and dislikes”.
In its order the court said, “We have heard the petitioner and AG and noted that the caretaker government should not have done so at this stage. It should not have made appointments on such posts which could affect the new government. Law minister already has rejected such appointments. We agree with the stance of the AG. However, we direct that we suspend all the postings and appointments which have been made by the caretaker government on daily basis. If some one has been affected individually by these appointments he can approach the court and we will issue proper order in this respect. Further hearing will take place on June 4 and the caretaker government cannot make any appointment or transfer until the completion of hearing of this case.”