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SC removes Siddiqul Farooq as ETPB chairman

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered on Wednesday the removal of Siddiqul Farooq as the head of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).

Hearing the Katas Raj suo motu case, a three-member bench had summoned Farooq today over his controversial appointment and role in the ETPB, which looks after affairs of minorities’ religious places in the country.

The court, during several earlier hearings of the case, had berated the ETPB chief over his negligence and appointment on nepotism.

Appearing in court today, Farooq said he worked at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz office where the chief justice would also visit sometimes.

The chief justice then ordered the federal government to remove him from the post and appoint an apolitical person.

Hearing the case on Tuesday, the bench had fined Assistant Advocate General Punjab Asma Hamid Rs1,000 and issued a notice to Farooq to appear in person.

The historic Katas Raj pond, a revered site for Hindus, is said to have depleted due to the operations of cement factories nearby which have sucked out the underground water.

During the hearing, the chief justice had also come down hard on Farooq, asking how he could remain on his post when his term has expired.

How long will political appointments continue to be made in the country, the chief justice observed further.

“Farooq’s credentials for the appointment are his 30 years of political service,” the chief justice had observed at an earlier hearing, adding that someone who collected newspapers in the party office was appointed to such an important post.

The then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Farooq as the ETPB chairman in October 2014 — a year and a half after the post fell vacant.

Farooq was previously the PML-N’s spokesman as well as Nawaz Sharif’s press secretary during a previous tenure as prime minister.

The former ETPB chairman Asif Hashmi had resigned in March 2013 when the Federal Investigation Agency began investigating him for financial misappropriation.

Farooq has also served as the House Building Finance Corporation chairman in the past.

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