Ombudsman’s appointment: CJ irked at Salman Farooqui’s absence


ISLAMABAD: During the hearing of the case relating to the challenge against the appointment of Salman Farooqui as Federal Ombudsman, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry expressed his displeasure at Farooqui’s absence from Thursday’s proceedings, DNA reported. A three member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar, has been hearing the challenge against Farooqui’s appointment. His appointment was challenged by Adviser to Transparency International Pakistan Syed Adil Gilani, who declared that Farooqui had been appointed as acting ombudsman by the caretaker government. At the hearing, the court was told Farooqui had gone to the United States for medical treatment after gaining permission from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Upon hearing this, the chief justice was irked and expressed his displeasure. Authorities from the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) informed the court that they had received Farooqui’s appointment letter on October 14, 2012. The authorities added that they had objections to a judicial allowance for Farooqui, saying such an allowance could only be availed by judges. Also during the hearing, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja said authorities from the Federal Ombudsman office had failed to produce Farooqui’s leave letter. The bench ordered that the letter be presented before it latest by 11.30am and adjourned the hearing until October 7. In the previous hearing, Farooqui had informed the court about his ailing health, stating that he had cancer of the blood, which has a very low survival rate. His council, Advocate Waseem Sajjad, had at the time told the court that since the ombudsman’s post was transitory, anybody could occupy it.