ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday turned down a petition seeking removal of Ghulam Sarwar Khan Federal Minister for Aviation from the Cabinet for making an ‘irresponsible speech,’ which is ‘damaging, for the airlines of the country.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition filed by Advocate Tariq Asad and dismissed the same after hearing the arguments.

The IHC bench noted in the verdict that this court exercises restraint because intervention in the matter would amount to bypassing the scheme of accountability of a member of the Cabinet prescribed under the Constitution and undermine the principle of collective accountability of the Cabinet. The jurisdiction of this Court under Article 199 of the Constitution is discretionary and its exercise can be refused in appropriate cases.

Justice Athar maintained, “This Court is confident that the Prime Minister and members of the cabinet will not hesitate in proceeding against a Minister or the regulator, if the latter are found involved, in any manner, to have caused harm to the interests of the State or the reputation of professional pilots and the national flag carrier. In the circumstances, this Court is not inclined to exercise the extra ordinary discretion vested under Article 199 of the Constitution and thus the petition is accordingly dismissed.”

During the hearing, the petitioner adopted before the court that he filed this petition because he is aggrieved due to the public statements made by respondent no. 5 i.e. Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Federal Minister for Aviation Division regarding the alleged irregularities in certification and licensing of pilots by the Civil Aviation Authority.

He contended that the statements were factually incorrect and irresponsible. The petitioner asserted that because of the alleged irresponsible, unverified and factually flawed statements made by one of the members of the Federal Cabinet, irretrievable loss has been suffered by the people of Pakistan, the national airline i.e. Pakistan International Airline Corporation and the reputation of those Pakistani citizens who are engaged in the profession as ‘pilots.’