Sharmila Farooqui, adviser to the Sindh chief minister, has disputed media reports alleging that the Supreme Court has admitted any petition against her. She has, however, acknowledged that a petition has been filed by Habibul Wahab Khairi, the chairman of Al-Jehad Trust.
The petitioner has, challenging Farooqi’s eligibility to become an adviser, requested the court order her removal from office as she was allegedly benefiting from perks and privileges illegally and in violation of the 18th Amendment under which a chief minister can appoint only five advisers. The petitioner has alleged that she cannot hold public office as she is a beneficiary of the National Reconciliation Ordinance, that allowed certain bureaucrats and politicians a pardon. The Supreme Court has struck it down.
This is the second time that a petition has been filed against Farooqi. Earlier, she was removed from the post of information adviser to the CM after Barrister Zameer Ghumro challenged the eligibility of advisers in view of the 18th Amendment.
Perks and privileges
An adviser draws a salary of Rs20,000, rent worth Rs22,000, an annual grant of Rs100,000 and free medical care for them and their families.
He or she is also entitled to travel first class and a yearly compensation of Rs300,000 in case of air travel. The adviser is provided Rs100,000 to furnish their residence.
After the appointment of 17 advisers was challenged in court their number was restricted to five in February last year. The CM removed 12 advisers including Farooqi. Later new posts were created in order to accommodate a few of them.
Rashid Rabbani, Waqar Mehdi, Siddique Abu Bhai who were serving as advisers, have been appointed as coordinators and special assistants. Rabbani was earlier an adviser on political affairs and is now working as a senior special assistant on political affairs. They are believed to be: Farooqi, Imamuddin Shoqeen (mines and minerals), Imtiaz Shaikh (special education), Syed Aijaz Ali Shah Sheerazi (rural development), Haleem Adil Sheikh (relief), Khawaja Izhar-ul Hassan (without a portfolio).
Siddique Abu Bhai has been appointed a coordinator and Waqar Mehdi a special assistant for the press and media. Meanwhile the number of special assistants has climbed to 15. They receive the same perks as advisers. Imtiaz Ahmed Mallah has been made special assistant for the complaint cell. Other special assistants include: Ismail Dahiri, Salman Abdullah Murad, Noor Jehan Baloch, Pehlaj Mal Nihlani, Ghulam Haider Rahu, Agha A Khan, Shamshad Qureshi, Anwar Lal Dinn, Pervaiz Ahmed Ansari, Muhammad Ameen, Khadim Hussain and Noor Hussain. However, no one knows what their departments or role are.