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16 years and counting: The clock is ticking for justice

Source: Tribune ( Pakistan ) • 3 years ago


His fault is that he is an average citizen of Pakistan, removed from service without any legitimate reason. The case of Syed Shahid Raza is a classic example of selective justice, and the impossibility of a common man getting justice from state functionaries.

Despite many court judgments, hearing of services tribunals and exchange of letters, Raza, who was sacked from service in 1998, awaits justice even after 16 years have passed. He has been working on a daily wage basis ever since to feed his family, running from one door to another and from one court to the next in search of a befitting end to this ordeal.

In 1996, Raza was appointed a photographer in the public relations office of NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi. After two years, he was sent packing. He filed a case against the move. On the intervention of the court, the university administration took a stand that the post for which Raza was hired had been abolished because Raza’s performance was not satisfactory. Interestingly, as per the university gazette, the post of photographer still exists.

In its reply to the Human Resource (HR) Cell of the apex court, the university’s administration claimed that the court orders were followed regarding reinstatement of Raza. Creating a temporary post of special clerk, the university gave an offer letter to Raza to join the university for six months only.

However, Raza refused to accept this offer. The university administration then told the HR Cell that Raza had not accepted the offer due to which he could not be restored. The university administration allegedly misled the court. Due to this, the HR Cell could not forward this case for further hearing, as it had gotten assurance from the university that the order of the apex court had been implemented in the case.

Raza was not aware of the university administration’s reply and he could not defend his position. After a few years, he got a copy of the university’s reply which was submitted to the apex court. It came as a surprise to Raza as what the reply stated was contrary to the letter which the university had offered him.

Raza had also filed an application to the service tribunal but to no avail. Recently, he went to Islamabad from Karachi to pursue his case, a case that has almost been buried in the files. He shared his intention to stage a sit-in and hunger strike against this injustice.

“After unemployment of so many years, it is not easy for me to hire the services of a competent lawyer to present my case,” said Raza, sharing his grievances with The Express Tribune. He was holding a copy of the university administration’s letter to the Supreme Court in which it had been claimed that ‘we offered a special post to Raza but he declined the offer”.

The reply, submitted in the apex court, a copy of which was made available to The Express Tribune, never mentioned that it was a temporary post.

The registrar of NED University was unavailable for comment despite several attempts to reach him. However, an official in the apex court, when approached, said that on the basis of a written application of Raza, the HR cell would be in a position to open the case again.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2014.