SHC restrains police from arresting Zardari’s brother-in-law

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday restrained the police from arresting former education secretary and brother-in-law of PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zaradari, Fazalullah Pechuho, in a case pertaining to demanding bribe from a school principal and implicating him in a false case

A division bench of the SHC was hearing a criminal miscellanies application filed by Mr Pechuho, who is currently being tried in the provincial anti-corruption court on a complaint of suspended high school principal Muhammad Mithal.

The principal had alleged that the former secretary had demanded a bribe for reinstating him.

Mr Pechuho approached the court after an anti-corruption court issued non-bailable warrant for his arrest.

The bench suspended the operation of the arrest warrant and directed him to appear before the trial court and cooperate with the investigators.

Seeks comments on AIG’s promotion petition

The complainant principal alleged that he was suspended twice illegally and the education department’s employees — section officer Abdul Jabbar and junior clerk Iftikhar Hussain — backed by the then secretary had refused to reinstate him when he declined to give them Rs200,000 as a bribe.

Mr Pechuho, however, denied the allegation, terming it baseless and meant for tarnishing his image.

Bench irked

The same bench expressed displeasure over Thatta’s senior superintendent of police and deputy commissioner for their failure to submit a report on a recent incident of boat capsizing near Thatta that resulted in 21 deaths and injuries to 47 others.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Justice Helpline, a non-governmental organisation, taking the provincial authorities to court and submitting that the boat had drowned near Thatta due to negligence of the authorities concerned.

The bench became irked when it learnt that no report was submitted by the respondent SSP and the deputy commissioner despite the court orders.

The bench directed them to file their respective reports and adjourned the hearing to Jan 29.

Advocate Nadeem Shaikh and Atam Parkash submitted in their petition that 68 passengers had boarded the boat at the coastal village of Buharo to attend the annual urs of Meenhan Pathai — a shrine located on an island off the coast — but their boat capsized on Dec 7.

“It probably overturned due to high tide and overcrowding; 21 people drowned while 47 others were saved by rescue teams,” they added.

They said that thousands of people visited the shrine in overcrowded boats. “The ill-fated boat had a capacity of about 40 people at the most,” the petitioners said.

It was also reported that the capacity of the ill-fated boat was for only 30 to 40 persons but the boat owner overloaded it, boarding more than 100 passengers.

The civil right campaigners stated that according to the Boat Rules 1953, no licensed boat should carry a greater number of passengers than the number allowed by its licence or under these rules.

They impleaded the chief secretary and the secretaries for home, local government and maritime affairs, livestock and fisheries department director general and the fisheries marine director as respondents and asked the court to direct the respondents to produce a standard operating procedure before it so that it could ascertain who was responsible to look after the affairs of the coastal region of the province.

They further requested the court to direct the authorities concerned to conduct an inquiry into the matter and produce reports before it within the stipulated time.

Comments sought on promotion plea

A division bench of the SHC directed the establishment division secretary to file comments on a constitutional petition of additional inspector general of police (traffic) Ghulam Qadir Thebo, seeking his promotion from BS-21 to BS-22.

Mr Thebo submitted in his petition that he was not promoted to Grade 22 by the high-powered selection board despite the fact that he met the criteria laid down in the Civil Servants (Promotion to the post of secretary, BS-22 and equivalent) Rules, 2010.

He said he fully deserved to be promoted as per the Rules 2010. The officer said he had joined the police department in 1985 after passing the CSS examination.

“During the tenure, I remained posted at various positions, including field and staff appointments, as well as posting outside the police department,” Mr Thebo submitted in the petition.

He stated that he had served as an assistant superintendent of police, a superintendent of police, senior superintendent of police, deputy inspector general, inspector general for prisons, and additional IG in Karachi after getting promoted gradually.

Besides, Mr Thebo said, he had served with the United Nations Mission to Bosnia from August 2000 to December 2001 as well as chairman of the Enquires and Anti-Corruption, Sindh, from June 2016 to July 2017.

The bench adjourned the hearing to Jan 21, directing the respondents to file their respective replies by the next date.