ISLAMABAD - A Division Bench of Islamabad High Court on Monday turned down an Intra Court Appeal of the Higher Education Commission in which it had prayed to annul the interim order regarding restoration of Zia Batool as HEC DG.

The bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also directed the HEC to implement the interim verdict.

It was on January 30, when Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan restored HEC Quality Assurance Director General Zia Batool through an interim order after her contractual appointment was terminated on January 29.

Petitioner’s counsel Umair Baloch contended before the court that the ICA is premature as it could not be filed against an interim order. Therefore, he maintained that the ICA is non-maintainable and liable to be set aside.

On the other hand, the HEC administration argued that Zia Batool was a contractual employee and her appointment could be terminated at any time.

Previously, the petitioner had moved a contempt of court petition through her counsel and informed the court that she was working with the HEC since 2003 on contractual basis. The court was told that in 2012, she alongside another HEC DG Anees Sadozai had filed a petition before the IHC seeking their regularisation.

On March 7, 2013, IHC Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan had accepted the petition and directed the HEC administration to regularise services of the two DGs and forward their matters to the Cabinet’s Sub-Committee for regularisation.

Then, HEC filed an ICA against the single bench orders that was dismissed.

After this, the petitioner moved a contempt of court application. During the hearing of this contempt of court application, an HEC legal advisor had submitted before the court that the administration would regularise services of the DG Zia Batool.

Even after submitting the aforementioned statement in the contempt of court application, the HEC administration did not regularise services of Zia Batool.

Then, she filed another contempt of court application and the court while issuing stay orders had directed the HEC administration to implement the court orders.

On January 29, 2014, the HEC terminated the contractual appointment of Zia Batool, but she challenged her removal on the same day. While setting aside the impugned order of the HEC, the IHC bench had restored Zia Batool on January 30.

Meanwhile, the IHC accepted for regular hearing a writ petition challenging illegal appointment and irregularities of Higher Education Commission Executive Director Dr Mukhtar Ahmad. IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui will conduct the hearing.

Prof Dr Aftab Kazi moved the petition and cited the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Federal Secretary Ministry of Education, Training and Standards in Higher Education, Federal Secretary Ministry of Finance, HEC Chairperson and Dr Mukhtar Ahmed as respondents.

The petitioner stated in the petition that Dr Mukhtar Ahmed’s selection on the post was illegal and unlawful. He contended that the appointment and tailored pay package of Dr Mukhtar Ahmed is the result of favouritism and nepotism. He argued that moreover, being the Executive Director, Dr Ahmed committed a series of irregularities and misused the office by appointing officers without any authority.

The counsel said that in spite of serious audit observations, the HEC executive director, being HEC principal accounting officer, continued to get the salary package which is gross misconduct. He added that the appointment of HEC Executive Director is also violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court of Pakistan reported in various judgments.

Through the petition, the petitioner prayed that the appointment of HEC Executive Director, the tailored pay package and decision of the commission may kindly be set aside being illegal and unlawful, and the amount already received by Dr Ahmed may kindly be recovered.