Col (R) Ikram Ullah Khan
The impugned verdict of a three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on a pending case since 2012 striking down the Sacked Employees Reinstatement Ordinance Act 2010 declaring it as illegal and ultra vires of the constitution led to the sacking of over 16,000 employees from different departments and corporations in the country.
The decision has come as a bolt from the blue for all those employees who were not given the opportunity of being heard and defend their case, and were caught off guard as they were kept in the dark till last minute when the verdict was pronounced all of a sudden on 17 August 2021 because one honourable judge of the three-member bench of the Supreme Court had to retire that very day. The judgement had been reserved for almost one and a half year which is unprecedented in the judicial history of Pakistan.
The decision has created financial problems for thousands of employees and their families, the number running into lakhs. Majority of these employees having spent their prime youth in government service and now entering the threshold of superannuation, are unable to get any other job to support their families. Their children studying in different educational institutions would be unable to complete their primary and tertiary education as these (sacked) employees wouldn’t be able to afford their educational expenses.
It may be noted that these employees had got jobs in different public sector departments across the country in 1996 on the basis of their qualifications and after having undergone necessary professional training; and performed their duties well and to the entire satisfaction of their respective departments’ heads. These employees were sent packing in 1997 during Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) regime out of sheer political rivalry with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as these employees had got jobs during PPP regime.
However, in 2010, these employees were reinstated during Pakistan Peoples Party government through an act of Parliament. A case in this regard had been pending in the Supreme Court since 2012. However, after the lapse of 9 years, the Supreme Court declared the Sacked Employees Reinstatement Act 2010, illegal and unconstitutional, and as a consequence, over 16000 employees lost their jobs.
The decision has come as a financial fiasco for the sacked employees and their families and has left them in a traumatic situation and in acute financial problems who are already suffering because of skyrocketing inflation and economic meltdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Foregoing in view, the Honourable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan are requested to pay heed to the plight of these sacked employees and their families on humanitarian ground and review the decision or frame a fresh Act of Parliament in order to save thousands of employees and their families from breakdown.