Termination of 1,173 employees of power companies stayed

LAHORE: A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC), on Tuesday, suspended the order of a single bench and as an interim relief stayed the termination of at least 1,173 employees of the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO), Faisalabad Electric Power Company (FEPCO) and Gujranwala Electric Power Company (GEPCO), who were allegedly appointed on the basis of ‘political consideration’.The bench also sought replies from PEPCO, WAPDA and other respondents till July 28.The bench was hearing an inter-court appeal moved by the terminated workers.Earlier, two single benches had, while hearing constitutional petitions, set aside appointments in FEPCO and Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan had cancelled appointments made in the GEPCO which, according to the petitioners, were made at the behest of Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf by flouting the merit policy.The petitioners, Asamd Mahmood Khan and others, had challenged the appointments for the posts of assistant linemen, metre readers, commercial assistants and naib qasids.

The petitioners’ counsel said that the posts were only meant for the candidates having domicile of Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Toba Tek Singh, Khushab, Sargodha and Mianwali. The petitioners had alleged that the minister accommodated his voters by offering jobs violating merit and ignoring the deserving candidates. Even candidates who did not pass the written tests and interviews were appointed, they said.

The counsel said that the candidates who were appointed against these posts were not residents of the prescribed districts and most of them hailed from Chakwal and Gujjar Khan, falling within the electoral constituency of minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.The single bench had accepted the petitions on May 5, 2010 and had set aside the appointments.The judges had held that the impugned appointments were made in violation of rules and regulations and directed the authorities to refill the vacancies strictly on merit.Consequently, the terminated employees filed inter-court appeals against the decision of the single bench. – Dailytimes