ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court on Friday suspended the order of Minister for Communication Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan, promoting over 200 officers in National Highway Authority (NHA) from grade 19 to 20.

Dr Arbab Alamgir on March 1, promoted 213 officials of grade 19 to next grade. However, eighth aggrieved and ignored officers of NHA challenged these promotions in IHC. On Friday, Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan conducted preliminary hearing of the case and suspended the said promotions besides directing Chairman NHA Hamid Ali Khan and Secretary Communication to furnish their replies over the issue by first week of April.

Advocate Raja Amir Abbas Hassan, counsel for petitioners, while challenging the promotions adopted before the court that NHA is a statutory body working under NHA act 1991 and recently framed rules for promotion by the federal government. He said that under the said rules federal minister has no powers to promote NHA officials and as it is the sole right of departmental selection committee.

He alleged that minister had promoted their blue-eyed officials violating NHA rules. He maintained that 213 officials were junior to the petitioners but after their promotion the junior officers would supersede the seniors.

The lawyer further pleaded that minister had wrongly interpreted the decision of cabinet's sub committee and promoted to blue-eyed officials.

He informed that the court committee that the said committee is supposed to regularise the services of contract employees, not authorised to promote regular officials. 

After hearing arguments, the court suspended the said promotions and adjourned the hearing for next month.