THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, ISLAMABAD, 09th OCTOBER 2013:
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led government on Tuesday backed the appointment of federal ombudsman Salman Farooqi, the former secretary general to the president, in the Supreme Court and clarified that the appointment process was legal.
Deputy Attorney General Shah Khawar told the court that the law ministry was convinced that there was no irregularity in the appointment of Farooqi as federal ombudsman. Khawar also pleaded that petition against Farooqi, filed by Transparency International (TI) Pakistan’s representative Syed Adil Gilani, be dismissed.
Responding to a query in the court, Khawar said there was a huge difference in the stance of the government departments on this appointment. Prime Minister’s Secretary had suggested an inquiry on the irregularities in the appointment process, while the office of the Auditor General of Pakistan had expressed reservations over it, terming the appointment questionable.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry stated the government’s stance was similar to Farooqi’s counsel Wasim Sajjad because he too supported the inquiry against the manipulation in the notification of federal ombudsman’s appointment.
TI’s Adil Gilani had alleged that Farooqi’s appointment was against the law as he was also serving as secretary general to the president. He said that in order to rescue him, the president also issued an ordinance to validate the appointment.
However, the federation’s counsel stated that he had been informed by the law ministry that the ordinance was issued for increasing the performance of ombudsman’s different offices and that it was ‘not person specific’.