PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Services Tribunal has held the current and former speakers of the provincial assembly, Asad Qaiser and Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani respectively, for promoting cronyism and nepotism during appointments to the assembly secretariat.
“By now it has been established beyond any shadow of doubt that the former and the present Speaker etc. have one point agenda to promote cronyism, nepotism and favouritism at the cost of merit, transparency, fairness, equality and justice,” the three-member tribunal ruled in a detailed judgment on an appeal against the appointment of a junior officer as the secretary of the assembly.
“It amounts to misuse of official authority and is open to cognisance/judicial scrutiny by the quarters concerned,” it added.
Accepting an appeal of senior additional secretary Kifayatullah Khan Afridi on Dec 10, the tribunal consisting of members Mohammad Hamid Mughal, Mohammad Amin Khan Kundi and Ahmad Hassan had declared illegal the Aug 11, 2017, decision of the Departmental Promotion Committee and the Aug 15, 2017, notification by the then assembly speaker and current National Assembly speaker, Asad Qaiser, of the promotion of an officer junior to him, Nasrullah Khan, as the secretary.
Services tribunal rules Asad Qaiser, Ghani promoted cronyism, nepotism in appointments
It observed: “Before parting with the judgment, apprehensions are lurking in our mind that adverse findings of this Tribunal may pique the ego of respondents and in line with their tradition possibility of again violating the court/ Tribunal orders cannot be ruled out.”
The tribunal added that the counsel for the appellant, Ali Azim Afridi, had also brought to the notice of the Tribunal that cases of illegal appointment of Special secretary and Director (automation and IT) Provincial Assembly were struck down by the Peshawar High Court in two writ petitions on Nov 13, 2018.
During the pendency of the appeal in Sept 2018, the DPC had again recommended the promotion of Mr Nasrullah prompting the issuance of a notification by the current assembly speaker, Mushtaq Ghani, on Sept 25, 2018.
The tribunal also declared that decision of the DPC illegal.
The respondents in the appeal were the KP Assembly speaker, the DPC through its secretary, and secretary of the assembly Nasrullah Khan.
The tribunal observed that the bone of contention in the appeal was the promotion of the respondent, Nasrullah Khan, to the post of the secretary of the provincial assembly (BPS-21), who was otherwise junior to the appellant but cleared and recommended by the DPC in its meeting on Aug 11, 2017 and was notified on Aug 15, 2017.
It ruled that the perusal of minutes of the said meeting revealed that the appellant was ignored on flimsy, whimsical and nonsensical grounds and in utter disregard to the criteria for promotion laid down in Service Rules of the Provincial Assembly notified on Sept 25, 2007.
“A plain reading of the said rule depicts that seniority cum fitness was the sole criteria/ principle for promotion to the post of Secretary Provincial assembly (BPS-21). The appellant was senior most Additional Secretary fully eligible for promotion. Perusal of the minuets of the DPC revealed that during the course of consideration nothing adverse was found against the appellant,” it ruled.
The tribunal observed that as per another judgment of the tribunal given on Sept 14, 2017, the promotion order of the respondent Nasrullah Khan was withdrawn on Sept 7, 2018.
On the recommendations of the DPC, Nasrullah Khan was again promoted to the post of secretary (BPS-21) through a notification on Sept 25, 2018.
“Again the appellant became a victim of favoritism, nepotism and unholy alliance of DPC to accommodate their blue-eyed chap by hook or crook. It was a deliberate attempt on part of the respondents to frustrate the efforts of the appellant for his due right of promotion,” the tribunal ruled.
The appellant said he was appointed assistant secretary (BPS-17) to the KP Assembly Secretariat on Nov 23, 1992.
He said he had more than 24 years of service experience and that, too, to the satisfaction of his superiors all through his service