Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday issued notices to the secretaries of Cabinet Division, Establishment Division and Federal Public Service Commission of Pakistan (FPSC) in a petition of chairman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) against the government’s notification about sending him on forced leave.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi also sought the reply of the respondents within one week in this matter.

In this particular matter, Chairman OGRA Saeed Ahmed Khan has challenged before the court the federal government’s decision of sending him on three months forced leave.

The petitioner adopted before the court that as per OGRA Ordinance, the prime minister through the cabinet secretary can forward a reference to the FPSC on specific allegations of misconduct and send them on leave till completion of an inquiry by the FPSC as the chairman and members of regulatory bodies were protected under the law.

Previously, the federal government through an inquiry report had held petroleum ministry officials, Pakistan State Oil and private oil companies responsible for the petroleum crisis in the country. The inquiry report had blamed OGRA for failing to enforce 20-days stock position by oil companies even though it was responsible to develop storage capacity and stocks under license conditions for oil marketing companies. The chairman OGRA was consequently sent on forced leave.

Later, Cabinet Division had sent Saeed Ahmed Khan on forced leave on February 11 due to his alleged role for January 2015 oil crisis.

In the petition, the chairman OGRA through his counsel Asma Jehangir Advocate has adopted before the IHC that under OGRA Ordinance the chairman had a four-year job security unless found being physically or mentally incapable or committing misconduct therefore he could not be sent on forced leave.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to set aside the federal government’s order for sending him on forced leave and till adjudication of this matter the forced leave orders may be suspended.

A standing counsel Jahangir Khan Jadoon representing the federal government, however, requested the court not to grant ex parte stay without hearing the federal government’s version. Then, the IHC bench issued the abovementioned directions and deferred the hearing in this connection for one week.