The appointment of Latif Khosa as the new governor of Punjab was challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday.
The petition, filed by a citizen, states that Khosa is not eligible for the post of governor under articles 62 and 63 of the constitution because he was removed from the office of Attorney General in 2009 on charges of corruption and the Supreme Court had presented observations against him during the hearing of two different cases.
The court summoned the president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association, Abdul Quddus Mian, for assistance and has adjourned the hearing until January 19.
Updated from print edition (below)
Change of guard: Latif Khosa appointed new governor of Punjab
After days of guessing and speculation, President Asif Ali Zardari announced on Tuesday the appointment of Sardar Muhammad Latif Khosa, an influential lawyer, as the new governor of Punjab. Khosa will replace Salmaan Taseer, who was gunned down on January 4 by one of his own security guards incensed by his statements against the controversial blasphemy laws.
Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar confirmed that President Zardari has signed the summary for the appointment of Khosa, who belongs to the impoverished southern Punjab. The summary was sent by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, Khosa was scheduled to be sworn in at the Governor House in Lahore on Wednesday at 1 pm. However, the oath-taking has been postponed till Thursday due to the murder of Justice Javed Iqbal’s parents.
Sources told The Express Tribune that a real estate tycoon had lobbied for Khosa with President Zardari who had to make a choice from several contenders for the coveted slot.
Khosa will be the 27th governor of Punjab. And this will be his third important assignment in a less than three-year tenure of the PPP-led coalition government.
Khosa, a lawyer by profession, was a close associate of slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto and he had argued graft cases against her and her spouse in courts on several occasions.
Soon after the PPP came to power after the 2008 elections Khosa was appointed Attorney-General for Pakistan on August 19, but was removed from the office in October 2009 on charges of corruption.
On February 10, 2010, he was appointed adviser to the prime minister on information technology and served in the capacity until he was asked to defend the government in the Supreme Court in cases related to the defunct National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).
Khosa, also a member of the Senate, has been very active in bar politics and his group won important Supreme Court Bar Association and Pakistan Bar Council elections last year.
Khosa was also instrumental in the lawyers’ movement for the restoration of dozens of senior judges sacked by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2007. However, later he apparently distanced himself from the movement till the judges were reinstated by the PPP-led government in 2009 following a long march by rival PML-N.
Relations between the PML-N and PPP remained strained during the tenure of Khosa’s predecessor Salmaan Taseer, who was an outspoken critic of the Sharifs’ party. The choice of Khosa came after the PPP acquiesced to the PML-N’s 10-point agenda to improve performance of the federal government.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2011.