ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday set aside the orders of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of remanding the matter of promotion of 27 bureaucrats back to Central Selection Board (CSB).

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi directed the principal secretary to the PM to process the promotion of these officers as per recommendations of the CSB. The IHC bench also directed the secretary establishment and other respondents to issue promotion notifications of the petitioners from BS-20 to BS-21 from the date when the other 26 officers in PAS group, 6 officers in PSP group and 8 officers in FSP group were notified.

The court issued these directions while hearing a petition moved by some 27 civil servants through their counsel Asma Jahangir Advocate and cited Federation of Pakistan, through the principal secretary to the prime minister, chairman federal public service commission/ chairman central selection board (CSB), secretary establishment division and the central selection board through its secretary as respondents.

The petitioners included Aftab Ahmad Maneka, joint secretary, ministry of climate change, Abdul Jalil, joint secretary, ministry of religious affairs and Zakat, Rashid Bashir Mazari, a BS-20 officer, Mohammad Aslam Hayat, member (judicial), board of revenue government of Sindh, Mukhtar Hussain Soomro, chairman enquiries and anti-corruption establishment Sindh, Iqbal Ahmed Bablani, provincial census commissioner Sindh, Mohammad Masood Khan Afridi, additional IG special branch government of KP, Amir Hamza Mahsud, additional IG KP, Burhanul Islam, additional secretary (West Asia) ministry of foreign affairs, Mohammad Aslam Khan, additional secretary in ministry of foreign affairs, and Mohammad Aqil Nadeem, additional secretary in foreign service of Pakistan.

They informed the court that the PM Office had returned the cases of officers of 18 Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), five cases of the police service of Pakistan and four cases of the foreign service to the CSB to review its recommendations for their promotion.

During the hearing, Asma Jahangir told the court that CSB in February 2014 recommended a large number of officers from six different service groups for promotion from BPS-20 to BPS-21.

However, she added that the prime minister approved promotions of 40 officers but deferred the promotions of 27 civil servants.

Asma contended that that the act of government for withdrawing the promotions was discriminatory against her clients.

The counsel stated before the court that promotion policy is very elaborate and gives due weightage in terms of marks for every attribute necessary for consideration of promotion.

She further said that there was no past precedent in which the recommendations of the CSB had been turned down by the prime minister. She argued that the Supreme Court has already held that CSB is a semi-judicial forum hence the recommendations of the CSB should not be taken lightly by the competent authority.

Asma Jahangir maintained that if the order of the prime minister for withholding the promotions of the officers is not set aside then the CSB will become a defunct body and will not recommend any person against the wishes of the prime minister.

Therefore, the counsel prayed to the court that the orders of the prime minister of remanding the matter back to the CSB may kindly be set aside. She requested the court to direct the federal government to confirm the recommendations of the CSB regarding the promotions of the petitioners.

Asma further prayed to the court that the respondents may be directed to issue promotion notifications of the petitioners for BS-21 from the date when the other 26 officers in PAS group and 6 officers in PSP group and 8 officers in FSP group respectively were notified.