Petition against Sharmila: How expensive is an adviser to the CM?

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.

“It has not been admitted by the apex court,” she told The Express Tribune over the phone on Friday.

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.

Current status

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.


Petition moved against Sharmila Farooqui, her father’s eligibility

ISLAMBAD – Despite repeated reminders, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Deedar Hussain Shah has not submitted comments to the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the alleged disqualification of Sharmila Farooqi, adviser to the Sindh chief minister.
A well-placed source said for the past four months, the NAB chairman had “turned a deaf ear” to the SC order to submit comments on Sharmila’s disqualification decided in a plea-bargain case on April 28, 2001. The source alleged that NAB chief was using delaying tactics only to protect Sharmila. The Supreme Court directed the NAB chairman to submit comments regarding Sharmila’s disqualification within two weeks after hearing a human rights petition filed by one Aslam Siddiqui.
However, the NAB chairman failed to comply with SC orders. On October 12, 2010, SC’s Human Rights Cell director again issued a reminder, which the Deedar again failed to comply with. The director finally put the NAB chairman on notice to comply with court orders on or before January, 2011. Documents reveal that on April 12, 2000, Accountability Court No IV Karachi convicted Sharmila and her mother Anisa Farooqi and father Usman Farooqui on corruption charges.
They were sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment each. Later, the convicts filed an appeal before the Sindh High Court, which remanded their case for a re-trial on technical grounds. During the course of the re-trial, the convicts entered a plea bargain with NAB in order to avoid further conviction. Their plea-bargaining was accepted by the then chairman NAB and later approved by the Accountability Court No IV Karachi.
The accountability court in its judgment on April 28, 2001, declared Sharmila Farooqui, Anisa and Usman disqualified to be elected, appointed or nominated to hold any public office for 21 years. Notwithstanding her conviction, plea-bargaining and disqualification, Sharmila was appointed adviser to the Sindh chief minister, to enjoy not only perks and privileges of a public servant but also an extraordinary political clout.