By Naeem Sahoutara
KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) directed the provincial government on Tuesday to appoint a new ombudsman to hear cases of harassment of women at workplace within three weeks.
Syed Pir Ali Shah, the last ombudsperson, was removed over allegations of corruption and nepotism.
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim, also directed the additional secretary for the provincial services and general administration department to hold an inquiry into the allegations against Shah.
The Sindh government had proudly appointed Shah, a retired district and sessions judge, as ombudsperson to hear and decide cases relating to harassment of women at workplace in July, 2012.
The petitioner, Aneela Khan, had approached the apex court against Shah, alleging the provincial ombudsperson had gotten eight of his relatives, including his son and daughter, employed.
On Monday, the judges had directed the provincial chief secretary to place in court the summaries of the first and second appointment of Shah. The court had also directed the secretary of women development department to submit all the appointments made by the ombudsperson with the mode and procedure that he had undertaken in appointing those persons.
The judges had also sought a list of the appointees and their relationships, if any, with the ombudsperson. Furthermore, the apex court had called details of cases that Shah had decided either way, details of amounts disbursed to the ombudsperson, which were spent by him during his first and second tenures, and the persons to whom such amounts were disbursed.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, advocate-general Barrister Zamir Ahmed Ghumro informed the court that Shah had been removed from the post and produced a notification to this effect.
The apex court directed the government to fill the post by appointing an officer in accordance with the law within three weeks.
Regarding the action against Shah, the judges directed the additional secretary of services and general administration department to hold an inquiry into the allegations of corruption and nepotism in appointments and submit a report by the next date of hearing.