The Supreme Court (SC) took back its order for the removal of Murtaza Wahab from the post of Administrator Karachi after he tendered an “unconditional apology” during a hearing of the Gutter Baghicha case at the Karachi Registry on Monday.
The court directed that the post of administrator be “kept away from politics” and instructed Wahab to fulfill his responsibilities while remaining above “political affiliation and pressure”.
Earlier, a two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin issued a directive for Wahab’s removal after a heated exchange with him.
Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan, Advocate General of Sindh Salman Talib Ud Din, Karachi Commissioner Iqbal Memon, Wahab, and Senior Director of the anti-encroachment department Bashir Siddiqui were present during today’s hearing.
During the hearing of a matter related to the Gutter Baghicha park, Justice Amin, while addressing Wahab remarked, “These are state lands [and] not your personal property. [You will] have to return them. If we don’t take them [back] then someone else will. You will return the lands.”
“Should we leave the government?” Wahab questioned, saying that major observations are made about the provincial government by the court.
“Silence yourself mister, what are you saying? Don’t do politics here,” the chief justice reprimanded Wahab.
“Get out from here. We will fire you right now. Are you an administrator or a political leader?” Justice Gulzar questioned.
“The administrator, prima facie, failed to perform his duties. The administrator’s behaviour is that of political leaders [and] not of serving the citizens,” the chief justice remarked.
“Go and transfer Bin Qasim park [and] Hill park in your name. Take Frere [Hall] park too. How many parks are there in Karachi? Finish them now. Distribute the few remaining parks among your officers as well,” the chief justice scolded Wahab.
“Is Karachi your personal property?” he questioned.
Murtaza Wahab later apologised to the court for using harsh words.
“I apologise for my behavior,” Wahab said.
Justice Qazi Amin remarked that they have removed him [Wahab] from office. “You are no longer an administrator. You are not part of the state but the government,” he said.
Wahab, while speaking to the media during a break in the hearing, said that he accepted whatever the court’s decision would be.
He said that he has apologised to the court. “I was stating my opinion with great respect,” said Wahab, adding that this court is his own court.
“[A person] should be heard before issuing a decision against them,” Wahab said as he looked forward to the court’s final decision after the break.
The court later accepted the apology of Murtaza Wahab after a short break in the proceedings and withdrew the order to remove him from office.
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