LAHORE (April 22, 2011): Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Chaudhry on Thursday suspended operation of show cause notices issued to 29 Punjab Civil Secretariat (PCS) officers and restrained the Punjab chief secretary from initiating any proceeding against them.
The CJ issued the order on a petition filed by the president of the PCS Officers’ Welfare Association. He also sought a reply from the chief secretary on the next date of hearing, May 5.
Advocate Hamid Khan, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, submitted that the show cause notices issued to the PCS officers were illegal and without lawful authority. He alleged that the officers were being victimised and requested the court to set aside the show cause notices and all proceedings initiated against the officers. Khan said the association had been striving for the rights of the officers of the province which had been usurped by the civil servants of the federation belonging to the district management group (DMG).
He said the strong DMG lobby, at both the federal and provincial level, was responsible for the unfair promotion and posting decisions affecting the PCS officers.
Khan pointed out that the various remedial measures suggested by the Provincial Selection Board and the Punjab Assembly had never been implemented.
The petitioner said, the Punjab chief minister had constituted a committee to resolve the issue which made various recommendations to address the problem and the Association was assured that these would be implemented by July 31, 2011.
However, the chief secretary and the additional chief secretary had resorted to delaying tactics.
The petitioner submitted that the Association planned to call for a strike on March 21. He said that on March 18 when some Association members were handing out pamphlets regarding the planned strike, the respondents turned it into a law-and-order incident. The secretariat police were ordered to arrest the association members distributing the pamphlets.
The petitioner said this resulted in hundreds of officers and clerks gathering in the Civil Secretariat to protest against the arrests. After a peaceful demonstration, the crowd dispersed, he said.
The petitioner said that a group of around 100 PCS officers were later taken into custody and an FIR registered against 73 officers.
The officers were released the next day and a request for quashment of the FIR was pending before the Lahore High Court, the petitioner added.
He said the respondents issued show cause notices on March 18 to 29 out of the 73 officers in order to humiliate them.
(Published in “Express Tribune” on April 22, 2011)