KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday threw out a constitutional petition of the former vice chancellor of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology against the decisions taken by the university senate that also included his removal from the post of VC.

Dr Zafar Iqbal, who was appointed VC on Jan 31, 2014, had challenged four decisions of the university senate meeting held on Dec 20, 2014 under the chairmanship of President Mamnoon Hussain, the varsity’s chancellor.

The senate meeting had decided to send the VC on forced leave for three months directing him to appear before an inquiry commission constituted with retired Justice Haziq-ul-Khairi as its head to inquire into the allegations of irregularities and misappropriation of funds by Dr Iqbal.

Also read: Urdu varsity’s registrar, treasurer sacked

The senate meeting had also directed the VC of Karachi University, Prof Dr Mohammad Qaiser, to hold the additional charge of Urdu University. The registrar was also placed under suspension as per the meeting’s decision. Dr Iqbal petitioned the SHC against these four decisions of the senate meeting and got an interim stay order on the operation of the decisions.

However, on Monday, a division bench dismissed Dr Iqbal’s petition through a short order. A detailed order would be issued by the court’s office later.

Delimitation case

A division bench directed the chief election commissioner, chief secretary, local government and law secretaries to file their comments on a petition seeking suspension of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) two notifications regarding appointment of assistant delimitation officers and schedule for delimitations of constituencies for the LG elections.

The petition was filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Syed Zafar Ali Shah, who submitted that in compliance with the Supreme Court orders, the provincial government promulgated on March 2 the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2015, empowering the provincial government to determine the number of union councils, union committees and wards in municipal committees and town committees for the LG elections. After demarcation, the ECP should delimit the union councils, union committees and wards under the law, he added.

The petitioner said that the provincial government mala fidely retained delimitation powers to commit gerrymandering and the ruling party wanted to win the LG elections through gerrymandering and unlawful means.

He contended that as per the dictum laid down by the apex court the delimitation exercise was to be undertaken by the ECP and not by the Sindh government as it was the duty of the executive authorities to assist the ECP in discharging its duties.

The petitioner asked the court to nullify the LG law’s sections empowering the provincial government to demarcate boundaries of council and wards instead of the ECP.

He prayed to the court to suspend the operation of the LG bill while restraining the provincial government from demarcating councils and wards.

Mr Shah on Monday filed a miscellaneous application, telling the judges that the ECP had issued a notification on March 29 for appointment of assistant commissioners, mukhtiarkars and town officers as assistant delimitation officers to carry out delimitation exercise.

He said it issued another notification on March 26 announcing schedule for delimitations. He asked the court to suspend the operation on both the notifications until the decision on his petition against the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2015