The government on Friday night appointed Senator Maula Bux Chandio as Federal Law Minister to fill the vacuum of federation’s representation in the National Judicial Commission for the appointment of judges created by Babar Awan’s resignation.
In what appears to be a stop-gap arrangement, the appointment came in quick response to the Supreme Court’s apprehensions expressed the other day over incompleteness of the commission, which is scheduled to hold its meeting on Saturday (today) in the Supreme Court under the chairmanship of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Senator Maula Bux Chandio belongs to Hyderabad.
A press note issued by the Presidency said that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called on President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday night to advise the president for the appointment of Senator Maula Bux Chandio as law minister.
“On the advice of Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, President Asif Ali Zardari approved the appointment of Senator Chandio as Federal Law Minister and Advocate Farooq Awan, brother of former law minister Babar Awan, as Adviser on Law,” said presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar.
Senator Chandio will take oath of his office on Saturday.
Talking to reporters at the Supreme Court early on Friday, ex-minister Babar Awan said that the meeting of judicial commission could be convened without the presence of law minister.
The press statement said that besides appointment of new law minister matters relating to the current political situation and forthcoming visit of the prime minister to Afghanistan came under discussion in the meeting.
Prime Minister Gilani also informed the President about his telephonic conversation with UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
Chandio was elected to the Senate in March 2009 and his tenure ends in March 2015.
Farhatullah Babar said premier Gilani also invited the President to perform the ground-breaking of Bhasha dam project, which was accepted by the President. Zardari apprised Premier Gilani about his recent visit to Turkey, Babar said.
It may be recalled that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who is also the Chairman of National Judicial Commission, had ordered to inform the president and the prime minister about the absence of law minister from the commission on Thursday.
Secretary, Judicial Commission Dr Faqir Hussain, wrote a letter to the authorities pointing out that a meeting of the Judicial Commission is scheduled on April 16 (today) for consideration of confirmation/appointment of additional judges of Lahore High Court and Balochistan High Court, and that under the Constitution, federal law minister is a member of the commission.
Man of humble origins
Maula Bux Chandio belongs to the lower middle class family. He was born in 1952 in village Kamal Khan Chandio, Tando Muhammad Khan, in Sindh. His father, Muhammad Juman Khan Chandio, was a farmer by profession who had moved to Tando Wali Muhammad, Hyderabad.
Maula Bux started his education from a state-run school in his village. He did his intermediate in 1st division from Muslim College, Hyderabad. Chandio then went to the Hyderabad Law College where he got LLB degree, but since Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was his ideal there he started his student politics at the platform of Sindh Peoples Student Federation (SPSF) and later he was made President SPSF.
Chandio, who always claims in his speech “I am not a son of a landlord, but my father was a farmer” went to jail many times and continued his loyalty to the party.
He was arrested during the regimes of General Ziaul Haque, Nawaz Sharif and Mushrraf. During Zia’s time he was severely tortured by the armed forces in 1983. In 1988 he was made deputy general secretary of the party and when the government came into being in 1988 he was appointed special assistant in the cabinet of Qaim Ali Shah. In the second tenure of PPP Chandio was given responsibility of Chairman Baitulmal Sindh.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2011.