SHC restrains minister, others from harassing NHA project manager

Karachi: The Sindh High Court SHC on Saturday restrained Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, Provincial Minister of women Development and other respondents from taking any coercive action against project manager of the National Highway Authority NHA.

This order was passed on the petition of project manager of NHA who moved court against provincial minister and member provincial assembly accused of harassing him.

Colonel retd Muhammad Naseer, a project manager of the National Highway Authority NHA, cited secretary provincial assembly of Sindh, secretary home department, inspector general of police IGP, Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, provincial minister of women development, and Anwar Hussain Mahar, member provincial assembly MPA from Sukkur as respondents.

Petitioner submitted that minister is highly influential person belonging to ruling party and she was using other respondents to harass him.

He stated that on 3rd October 2012 while provincial minister was crossing Jamshoro Toll plaza, she refused to pay toll tax of Rs25 on the pretext that she is not liable to pay the tax. He said that as project manager of NHA his job is to ensure that toll tax is paid by every owner of vehicle strictly without any discrimination in accordance with the policy notified by the government of Pakistan.

He submitted that he showed a letter of NHA to her that according to him provides no exemption either to provincial legislators as claimed by her or to government vehicles.

He submitted that he spelled out to Bhutto about the NHA rules that only three categories of vehicle receive exemption from paying toll tax which included military vehicles with broad arrow number plates, vehicles of national highway and motorway police vehicle ambulances.

He said that she refused to obey the content of the letter and called it ransom being collected by Punjab in Sindh. He submitted that she called secretary home department and IGP who issued orders in her support and soon their subordinates, DSP and station house officer of Jamshoro police station with other police officials appeared on spot and assisted armed persons who were in civil dress.

He stated before the court that thereafter, armed persons in civil dress manhandled his staff, adding they broke lockers and looted Rs25000 from the lockers which he went on to say was collected tax amount.

He stated that he also requested the station house officer police station Jamshoro to lodge FIR of the incident but he refused to do so. However he added that SHO on contrary lodged FIR against him and his staff.

He said that minister was continuously harassing him, adding a notice has been issued by privilege committee of Sindh Assembly on complaint of MPA Anwar Hussain Mahar whom he said that he does not know. He held that there is very reason that he shall be harassed, humiliated and punished by privilege committee.

Therefore, he prayed court to declare notice of privilege committee is illegal and tantamount to harass him. He also prayed to court direct SHO Jamshoro to lodge FIR against minister and MPA for moving false motion in order to harass petitioner.

Headed by Justice Faisal Arab, the division bench, after preliminary hearing of the petition issued notice to provincial minister, secretary provincial assembly and advocate general of Sindh.

The court ordered, “In meantime no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioner till the next date of hearing”.

The hearing of case was put off till February 12.