SC takes notice of ‘illegal’ appointments ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court took suo motu notice on Wednesday of alleged illegal appointments in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), an institution set up to check corruption, when its attention was drawn towards the anomaly through an anonymous letter.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali asked the court office to register the anonymous letter, sent in the last week of July, as a suo motu matter under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.
The SC ordered issuance of notices to NAB Chairman Chaudhry Qamar Zaman and Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf to answer allegations levelled in the letter. The case will be taken up in the last week of this month.
The letter had drawn the court’s attention towards appointments of 16 former military officers on deputation in BPS-20 and BPS-21 among the total 32 officers serving in the senior grades.
“NAB has not only violated the basic service structure and service laws scheme but also grossly put a Supreme Court order in sheer disregard vis-a-vis its appointments and promotions,” the letter said.
Highlighting Section 28 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 and NAB’s Terms and Conditions of Service, 2002, the letter said rules had been designed to serve the purpose of accommodating those who otherwise were not qualified for the posts which they were holding.
To make an entity operationally independent, the letter said, the appointment procedure should be kept within dictates of the Constitution as enshrined in Article 242 which necessitated appointments through the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC).
But in total disregard of the Constitution, the letter said, the NAB chairman had been made the sole authority to make appointments in any manner he desired.
The letter cited a 2013 judgement in which the Supreme Court had held illegal absorption from one department to another, as well as deputation, except with stringent exceptions.
Counting of the length of service in one department for seeking promotion in another was also declared illegal.
The judgement also held illegal out-of-turn promotions, conversion of a non-civil servant into a civil servant, meaning thereby military personnel, re-employment or employment of a government servant on a contract basis after his retirement and posting on an own-pay-scale basis of a government servant in the next grade, as well as appointments without a competitive process held by the FPSC.
The letter said that the officials, majority of them former military officers on deputation, had been posted in OPS in higher grades, particularly directors general of various regional NAB offices. A majority of them were brought to NAB on deputation for three years — from 1999 to 2002 — but later absorbed permanently, like retired Col Sirajul Naeem, retired Maj Shehzad Saleem, retired Brig Hadeed, retired Maj Tariq Mehmood Malik, retired Maj Syed Burhan, retired Maj Masood Ahmed Lodhi, retired Maj Shabeer Ahmed, Squadron Leader Karamat, Squadron Leader Irshadul Haq, retired Col Subah Sadiq, retired Col Bhehzad Anwer Bhatti, retired Squadron Leader Tariq Nadeem Bhatti, retired Capt Farrukh, Amir Shah, Syed Muhammad Hussain, Abdul Hafeez Siddiqi, Muhammad Salim, Altaf Bawani and Nawazish Ali Asim.
It said that NAB appeared immune from all the Supreme Court judgements and directives, as well as policies of the Establishment Division, and no authority had so far been able to question its style of awarding promotions to former military servicemen and favourites.
The letter alleged that the bureau had been violating rules with impunity and without any concern regarding contempt of court.
Since NAB was a closed and conservative organisation with no access of authorities to it and with no fear of retribution, several officers had been continuing to suffer injustice at the hands of former military persons who had been promoting themselves with the help of rules they made for themselves, the letter regretted.
“An apex anti-corruption body of Pakistan has unfortunately remained above the law so far,” it said and pleaded to the court to take cognisance of illegalities, contraventions and violations in the interest of justice.