PHC asks KP govt if KPEC DG & commissioners appointed legally

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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Friday sought reply from the provincial government, directing it to explain at the next hearing if the appointment of the former director general of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission and commissioners were made under the law or in violation of the Ehtesab Act.
A division bench comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Roohul Amin Khan asked Additional Advocate General, Qaiser Ali Shah, to ensure submission of reply before the next hearing.
He was asked to explain the government position over the appointment of the former DG of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (KPEC) Lt General (R) Hamid Khan and the commissioners.
The bench sought reply in the writ petition filed by the KP Member Provincial Assembly and former provincial minister of Mines and Minerals, Ziaullah Afridi, in which he had challenged the appointments of former DG KPEC and commissioners.
The former minister prayed before the court that when the appointments of DG KPEC and investigation officers were illegal, then his (Ziaullah) arrest, registration of cases against him and investigation were also illegal and should be declared as void.
During the course of hearing, deputy prosecutor general of KPEC, Zahid Aman submitted before the bench that the provincial government reply was still awaited in the case.
The petitioner’s counsel Shumail Ahmad Butt informed the court that as per KP Ehtesab Commission Act 2014, the appointment of commissioners was the legislative committee’s responsibility.
He submitted that a meeting of the legislative committee was held on March 26, 2014 but an advertisement for their appointment was published before the meeting. He said the names of the commissioners were mentioned in the advertisement so that public objections over their appointment could be received.
The lawyer contended that 20 years of experience in anti-corruption affairs was one of the prerequisites in the advertisement, but the commissioners appointed in the Ehtesab Commission included retired officials such as a grade 20 principal and a controller of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education.
Shumail Ahmad Butt pointed out that those appointed as commissioners were not entioned in the advertisement and most of those whose names had been published were dropped.
The counsel added that presence of at least five members was mandatory for a meeting of the legislative committee, but only two members attended the meeting held to approve the list containing names of commissioners.
The lawyer submitted that notification on the formation of commission was issued on August 20, 2014 and as per law the commissioners had to appoint the director general, but advertisement for the appointment of DG was published on March 17, 2014.
He added the DG was appointed before the commissioners while according to the 2014 Act, the commissioners ought to be appointed earlier than the DG.
He said it was proved that rules and regulations were violated in the appointment of DG and commissioners as is evident from the dates of publication of the advertisements.
“It is evident from the resignation of the former DG of KPEC that he was appointed directly and his name was not sent to commissioners. As a result the commission’s action against Ziaullah Afridi was illegal and unconstitutional,” the lawyer argued.