Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday set aside the decision of High Powered Selection Board (HPSB), headed by the Prime Minister, regarding the promotion of officers from Grade 21 to Grade 22.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar directed the HPSB to reconvene its meeting and decide the promotions of all concerned on merit as per seniority and record and submit a report in this regard within 30 days.

The decision came after senior and decorated officer of Grade 21 officer, Raana Ahmad moved apex court and challenged the HPSB decision in which she was not promoted.

Through Barrister Ali Zafar, the petitioner submitted that she was denied promotion to BS 22 despite fulfilling all the requirements. She has an outstanding service record in terms of competence, leadership and integrity; has no adverse finding or negative recommendation against her; was at No 6 on the seniority list but for mala fide reasons, some other officers — much junior to her and with much inferior record — have been promoted.

The petitioner argued that FBR Chairman was not even present in the HPSB meeting  in August last year, although finance minister Ishaq Dar was among the attendees.

The Secretary Establishment confirmed that Ishaq Dar was present and the Chairman FBR was absent. But he said that the chairman was consulted on the phone.

The Chief Justice questioned in what capacity Ishaq Dar attended the meeting? Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan inquired what information Ishaq Dar had about the FBR officers, which was not available to the chairman FBR.

The Chief Justice observed: “Exercise of powers cannot be arbitrary, capricious and whimsical. In fact if the persons are not promoted in accordance with the seniority and record, the reasons must be objective and justiceable.”