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Peshawar

October 12, 2018

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PHC imposes compulsory retirement penalty on judge

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday imposed penalty of compulsory retirement on district and sessions judge Muhammad Azim Khan Afridi for committing misconduct during his service and defaming the judiciary by posting ‘ridiculous’ articles against superior courts’ judges on his website.

“It is notified that the judge Muhammad Azim Afridi (under suspension) stands retired from service compulsorily within the meaning of Rule 4(1) (b) (ii) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government Servants (Efficiency and Disciplinary) Rules, 2011 with immediate effect,” said a notification issued by Khwaja Wajihuddin, registrar of Peshawar High Court.

The action was taken by PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth after receiving the findings of an inquiry committee about disciplinary proceedings over the complaints against the judge.

In the notification, it was stated that Muhammad Azim Afridi (accused/officer) though held liable for awarding major penalty, which should not be less than dismissal from service, but there are reasons to take a lenient view of compulsory retirement.

“What he (the judge) has so far done or doing is not doable by a person of rational thinking. Drift from prudence of mind possibly could be the cause of either clinical depression or due to inflexible behaviour towards some situations not expected to have happened,” it was stated in the notification. Obviously, it said, the anxiety and sufferings of the judicial officer is understandable due to his moving down from the elevated position of a judge of high court to the position of district and sessions judge.

However, it said, “the conduct exhibited by the judge due to some clinical problem or inflexibility in behaviour to deal with the reality from moving down from the post of a judge of high court to sessions judge, he is no more fit for retention in service to hold a judicial office.”

The PHC started the inquiry in 2013 following complaints and allegations against the judge and on account of his articles on his Facebook page in which he ridiculed the judiciary.

The notification noted that an inquiry judge of the PHC, Justice Asadullah Khan Chamkani (now retired) had formulated four grounds of allegations against the judge after filtering the complaints.

It said that one of the allegations against the judge was that he aided and supported Malik Khana Gul, who was wanted to Saudi Arabia in some cases, to escape his arrest at the hands of the Interpol. It claimed that with the active connivance of the judicial officer a case was registered by FIA in Karachi against the accused Malik Khana Gul for recovery of illegal amount of about 1,700 million from the staff of his company, Money Link Exchange Company (Pvt) Ltd, formerly Malik Exchange, and KSB bank. The case has now been transferred to Peshawar.

The other allegation was that due to the support of the judge to the accused Malik Khana Gul, ex-senator Abdul Raziq, his father and Rahmat Shah Afridi as a reward offered him a recently constructed house in Hayatabad, Peshawar valued at Rs25 million.

The report said the accused judge also wrote ‘ridiculous’ articles against the judges of superior courts.

It added that these articles are still available on his website. It said that the accused judge did not submit written reply to the allegations in the charge sheet against him to the inquiry officer.

The report said that Peshawar High Court did not consider the three allegations against the judge for taking action against him.

However, it decided to take action following the recent complaint filed by Saifur Rehman, who stated that the judicial officer as a judge of Special Court in a judgment called the complainant a drug master, money launderer and terrorist due to personal grudges.

It said that a show-cause notice was issued to the judicial officer to reply to the complaint of Saifur Rehman, but he boycotted the inquiry instead of replying and started ridiculing the superior judiciary.

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