Ver­dicts against nepo­tism

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

Trou­ble is in the ranks for cur­rent Na­tional and Pro­vin­cial Assem­bly mem­bers Asad Qaiser and Mush­taq Ghani, re­spec­tively, as a Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa Ser­vice Tri­bunal finds the two guilty of mis­use of au­thor­ity. Qaiser was the Speaker for the KP Assem­bly from 2013-2018, and Ghani is the cur­rent KP Assem­bly Speaker. Both are ac­cused of abus­ing their po­si­tion as Speaker of the KP Assem­bly to make il­le­gal ap­point­ments.

The con­tro­versy was born in 2017, when Ki­fay­at­ul­lah Khan was re­jected for the po­si­tion of sec­re­tary pro­vin­cial assem­bly de­spite se­nior­ity. In­stead, the then Pro­vin­cial Assem­bly speaker and cur­rent Na­tional Assem­bly speaker, Asad Qaiser, gave the po­si­tion of sec­re­tary to Nas­rul­lah Khan, an of­fi­cer who was much ju­nior to Ki­fay­at­ul­lah Khan. Ac­cord­ing to Ki­fay­at­ul­lah’s pe­ti­tion in front of the tri­bunal, the po­si­tion of the sec­re­tary pro­vin­cial assem­bly is al­lo­cated based solely on se­nior­ity; thus choos­ing some­one in a ju­nior po­si­tion over a se­nior of­fi­cer would make the ap­point­ment in dis­re­gard to cri­te­ria for pro­mo­tion laid down in Ser­vice Rules of the Pro­vin­cial Assem­bly no­ti­fied on Sept 25, 2007.

The law is on Ki­fay­at­ul­lah’s side- the KP tri­bunal harshly worded the verdict against the for­mer and cur­rent speak­ers of the KP Assem­bly. The judg­ment stated that “the ap­pel­lant be­came a vic­tim of favouritism, nepo­tism and un­holy al­liance of DPC to ac­com­mo­date their blue-eyed chap by hook or crook.”

What does this mean for the PTI mem­bers? Ac­tion against nepo­tism and favouritism has been a ral­ly­ing cry for the par­tyPTI lead­ers have of­ten been heard cas­ti­gat­ing its op­po­si­tion for giv­ing out of­fi­cial po­si­tions to fam­ily mem­bers and friends, and has stressed that in its gov­er­nance, merit will be pri­ori­tised. Such a rev­e­la­tion, which has en­dured the test of law un­der a PTI pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, is not likely to be taken lightly by the PTI Chief.

Is there room for ap­peal? It is prob­a­ble that the Re­spon­dents will ap­peal the de­ci­sion to the ap­pro­pri­ate tri­bunal which hears ap­peals. How­ever, they have lim­ited grounds to do so- it is un­de­ni­able that Ki­fay­at­ul­lah has se­nior­ity over Nas­rul­lah, and Nas­rul­lah’s ap­point­ment breaks the ap­pli­ca­ble rules of se­nior­ity. The only ar­gu­ment that Qaiser and Ghani can ar­gue in­front of the Court is that Ki­fay­at­ul­lah was dis­re­garded on some valid ex­ter­nal grounds. Even then, the dam­age is done and it is doubt­ful whether the rep­u­ta­tion of the for­mer and cur­rent speak­ers is sal­vage­able.

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