Sindh High Court Sukkur Bench has issued directives to withhold salaries of Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, his advisors amid cabinet members and provincial chief secretary over inordinate delay in releasing funds for payment to the retired employees of Market Committees in the province.
Eight years ago, some retired pensioners had invoked the SHC Sukkar bench jurisdiction seeking directives for payment of pension. Appearing before a divisional bench of Justices Aftab Ahmed Gorar and Fahim Ahmed Siddiqui on April 28 Advocate Sohail Ahmed Khoso and his associates urged the bench for speaking order in the matter. They contended that despite repeated directives in the current case, government functionaries were refusing to release the pensions of retired employees.
During the course of proceedings, Hidayatullah, a director general of Agriculture Extension Hyderabad showed inability to release the funds for payment to the retired employees of Market Committees. He apprised the court that he was not empowered to pay the amount saying, “The Chief Secretary Sindh as well as the Chief Minster Sindh are vested with the powers in this regard”.
According to written order of the court, copy of which available with TLTP, responding to the court query, Hidayatullah submitted that four months ago he has requested the Secretary Agriculture Supply Department in the matter but found no response yet.
Expressing displeasure over the situation the bench observed, “We have observed that in all these pending Constitutional Petitions., the important matter regarding payment/release of the post retirement benefits of the employees of different market committees in Sindh are involved and despite issuance of the clear directions by this court on numerous dates of hearing, no response is being given to this important issue, because the old and infirm employees of the Market Committees in Sindh are waiting for their payment”.
Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar said in the written order, “ In the existing position of affairs, we have left with no other option except to withhold the monthly salaries of the entire Sindh Cabinet including the Chief Secretary. Government of Sindh and the advisors to Chief Minister Sindh”. Later, seeking the government response in the matter the bench adjourned hearing for May 11.