PHC suspends KP govt’s decision to increase retirement age
Provincial govt to challenge verdict
PESHAWAR: A division bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) headed by Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Naeem Anwar on Wednesday suspended the decision of the KP government increasing retirement age of government employees from 60 to 63.
The bench announced a short judgment after conclusion of arguments by counsel for defence and prosecution represented by Advocate General Shumail Ahmad Butt.
The court ruled that KP has been made experimental laboratory, adding that Punjab province and the Centre did not implement the decision of increasing retirement age.
The court further ruled that former KP Chief Secretary Saleem Khan had also raised serious objection over the government’s decision in this regard and mentioned the same in his summary to the government.
The Advocate General told the court that the provincial government has the power to increase the retirement age of employees. He argued that the decision would lessen financial burden on the province besides increasing volume of development programs. He further told the court that after three years the situation will become normal.
The councils for petitioners Advocate Muazam Butt, Noor Alam Khan and Malik Zahiruddin in their arguments maintained that 1,23000 government posts are vacant which could not be filled due to rise in the retirement age.
In all, nine writ petitions were filled in PHC against the KP government decision.
Its merit mentioning here that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly had passed an amendment bill in July last year to increase the retirement age of employees from 60 years to 63 years.
The opposition had rejected the bill arguing that the law is being amended to facilitate a small number of officials, who are on the verge of retirement.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra Wednesday said the provincial government would challenge the decision of Peshawar High Court (PHC), reversing amendments made by the provincial assembly in the civil servants act, in the Supreme Court.
In a statement, he said while having the greatest regard for the judiciary, the decision of setting retirement age was purely a policy matter, and duly legislated by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly after the approval from the Cabinet and thus not to be judicially scrutinized.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will therefore approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan at the earliest, and seek to ensure the spirit of provincial autonomy in line with Article 240(b) of the Constitution, he said. – APP