Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) yesterday served notices on the respondents in a petition challenging the appointment of Yasir Pirzada as Member Administration Capital Development Authority (CDA).

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing of the petition and directed the respondents to submit their reply within two weeks in this matter in which a petitioner Rana Nadeem Anwer Advocate had challenged Yasir’s appointment as Member Administration of CDA.

Petitioner moved the court through his counsel Hafiz Arfat Ahmad Ch and cited BS 19 scale IRS officer Yasir Pirzada, Federation of Pakistan through secretary cabinet, Chairman CDA, Cabinet Secretariat, and Establishment Division as respondents .

Yasir Pirzada is a columnist and the son of a renowned writer Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi. The petitioner has filed a quo-warranto writ petition that whether Yasir Pirzada is legally entitled to hold the office of member admin CDA without the approval of federal government and whether he is eligible and qualified to hold the said office being an officer of Inland Revenue Services (IRS) who does not possess the requisite experience.

Rana Nadeem also raised a question that if the appointment of Pirzada is not in violation of section 10 of the Civil Servants Act, 1973 and in violation of Article, 4,9, 18, 25 of the Constitution?

The petitioner adopted that Pirzada is an officer of IRS and does not have any background/training of “administration”. Therefore his appointment is against the law.

He contended that said appointment was made ignoring merit and principals of good governance.

The petitioner continued that prior to his appointment as member admin CDA, Pirzada was appointed as Director General Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment but soon his appointment order was withdrawn when the same was called in question through a petition before the court .

Thereafter, he added that Pirzada was immediately accommodated in CDA as member admin of the civic body on December 16, 2016.

He said that being a member of IRS with no relevant experience of administration in junior scale, Pirzada could not have been appointed as member admin CDA.

Therefore, the petitioner prayed to the court to direct Pirzada to explain that under what authority of law he is holding the said office. He further requested that the appointment of Pirzada be declared as illegal and void. Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court yesterday issued notices to the respondents in a petition against the newly introduced taxi services Uber and Careem.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani took up the matter and directed the respondents to submit their replies in this matter.

A taxi driver namely Muhammad Abdul Shakoor moved the court against the newly introduced taxi services saying that why the drivers associated with the two services have been exempted from relevant laws of getting registered with the transport authority, obtaining permit, licenses and coloring their vehicle as per requirement of the government.

Petitioner Shakoor moved the court through his counsel Umer Gillani advocate and cited secretary Islamabad Transport Authority (ITA), SSP Islamabad traffic police Malik Matloob, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Zulfiqar Haider, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Careem Cab network Pvt Limited and general manager Uber Technologies (Pvt) Limited as respondents .

He contended in his petition that the gross violation of law by Uber and Careem has created a non-level playing field in the taxi business.

The petitioner stated in his petition that he has been driving a taxi cab for the last 17 years obtaining public service vehicle license and his vehicle also registered in public transport category.

He added that Uber and Careem are the companies that set up websites which can be downloaded in smart phones and which work in conjunction with their respective websites. Through the impugned websites, apps as well as through their offices and media communication, Careem and Uber invite all car owners in Pakistan to become their agents and thereby provide rides to passengers.

He adopted that the two taxi or cab service provider are now operating in many cities of Pakistan including Islamabad. In the city of Islamabad alone, by now, the number of drivers who are providing rides to passengers as agents of the said two companies has increased manifolds.

Shakoor argued that Careem and Uber do not require the drivers registering with them to comply with any of the various requirement imposed by Pakistan’s laws upon vehicles and drivers falling in their category. The companies do not, for instance, require the drivers to have light transport vehicle or LTV driving licenses nor are do they require drivers to obtain permits from the concerned authorities for providing contract carriage services. And most importantly, Careem and Uber do not require the drivers have their cars painted according to a distinctive government-approved colour scheme. Due to this drivers of these two companies not fulfill any of legal requirements laid out in Motor Vehicle Ordinance, 1965 or National Highways Safety Ordinance, 2000.

He continued that these drivers ought to be prosecuted for these criminal offences and the management of Careem and Uber, being the “cause” of these violations, and being the master-mind of this plot, is also liable to prosecuted for the same criminal offences. He added that Uber and Careem try to distance themselves from the legal and regulatory liability of their drivers by claiming to be mere “information exchange” platform. However, this argument is factually misconceived. In reality, there exists a demonstrable agency relationship between Uber and Careem and their drivers.

On the one hand there are professional taxi drivers who structured their careers and investments in accordance with the laws of Pakistan.

They pay fees to the government, obtain relevant licenses and permits and get their cars painted to look like taxis.

On the other hand are part-time drivers who neither pay any government fees, nor do they obtain relevant licenses and permits and get their cars painted to look like taxis.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to direct ITA to ensure that new entrants into the market for contract carriage permits such as Careem and Uber are subjected to the same legal and regulatory requirements which are being enforced against the existing licensees and to proceed strictly against any regulate who refuses to comply.

The petitioner further requested the court that ITA, SSP traffic Islamabad and Chief Commissioner may be directed to ensure that the petitioner’s complaints annexed with the petition, which disclose allegations of cognizable and non-cognizable offences, are investigated and preceded in accordance with the law.