Ombudsman appears in SC to face challenge

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ISLAMABAD: The ailing Federal Ombudsman, Salman Farooqui, appeared before the Supreme Court on Tuesday to face a challenge against his appointment filed by Adviser to the Transparency International Pakistan Syed Adil Gilani.  Mr Farooqui was summoned by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to respond to charges that he had been appointed as acting ombudsman by the caretaker government. He informed the court that he had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer of the blood in which survival rate was not high.

He said his wife was already suffering from cancer, but he came from abroad against doctor’s advice to fulfil his commitment to appearing before the court.

His counsel Advocate Waseem Sajjad read out three reports by the law secretary, secretary to the prime minister and cabinet division secretary stating that Mr Farooqui had been appointed acting as well as Federal Ombudsman by the PPP government, and not by the caretaker government.

He explained that since the acting ombudsman was a transitory post, therefore any individual could be appointed to the office.

The court, however, ordered the auditor general to submit the record of salary of Mr Farooqui on Wednesday.

NOTICES ISSUED: A Supreme Court bench issued on Tuesday notices to the respondents, including personal staff officer to the Peshawar High Court Chief Justice, on a petition filed by PTI’s Dr Imran Khattak challenging the use of a suo motu by the PHC against barring women from casting vote in the NA-5 (Nowshera) constituency during the Aug 22 by-elections.

Advocate Athar Minallah, representing the petitioner, argued that the PHC had taken the suo motu on a complaint despite the fact that under articles 184(3) and 199 of the constitution, it had no jurisdiction to do so.

The court adjourned the hearing till Sept 10.