ISLAMABAD-The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday issued notices to Interior Ministry and Chairman Local Government Commission in Mayor Islamabad Sheikh Ansar Aziz’s petition challenging his suspension.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice MohsinAkhtarKayani conducted hearing of the petition filed by Ansar who also urged the court to let him perform his duties as mayor till the matter was decided.

The IHC bench directed the respondents to submit their written replies in this matter and deferred the hearing till May 21.

The mayor was suspended “with immediate effect for a period of ninety (90) days for fair conduct of inquiry under section 96, sub-section (1) of Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Act, 2015 (X of 2015),” read the notification issued by the interior ministry on Sunday. In his petition, the Mayor cited the federal government, Ministry of Interior and the local government commission as respondents and requested the court to direct the parties to work within the parameters of the law.

He stated in the petition that soon after the appointment of Ali Nawaz Awan as the chairman of Local Government Commission (LGC), the commission has started creating hurdles in the affairs of the petitioner and started to pass orders in casual and arbitrary manner

“Recently the Local Government Commission through its Chairman launched an attack and attempt to oust the petitioner from the office of Mayor Islamabad by leveling false and frivolous allegations against the petitioner and requested the Government for suspension of the petitioner through a Reference despite the fact that the suspension was not even a part of Agenda of the meeting being held by the Local Government Commission and the petitioner assailed the said letter before the honorable Islamabad High Court through writ petition which is pending adjudication before this court,” said Sheikh’s petition. He added that no due process was followed in the instant case before passing on the impugned order/ recommendation to the federal government which is fundamental right of the petitioner. He termed the action taken against him as illegal.

Earlier this year, a reference was filed against Aziz in which it was alleged that he was abusing his powers, using staff for personal use and operating official vehicles that were reportedly beyond his entitlement. The reference was filed by HumayunAkhtar, a member of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the acting Chief Metropolitan Officer (CMO). A local government commission led by PTI lawmaker Ali Nawaz Awan had recommended Aziz be suspended during the course of an ensuing investigation.

However, Mayor Aziz, however, had challenged the reference in a petition to the Islamabad High Court, claiming that the accusations against him were politically motivated. He had informed the court that despite a legal delegation of power to the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), many of the functions had not been transferred by the CDA and the chief commissioner office to the MCI.

He had also alleged that the ruling PTI had paralyzed union councils in Islamabad and that MNA Awan had brought up challenges for the mayor soon after being appointed the head of the commission that filed the reference against him.

In the petition, he prayed to the court that the order/ recommendations passed by the Chairman LGC be declared that the same had been passed without lawful authority and in violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioner and the same may be set aside.