ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led federal government has finally decided to appoint Anwar Mansoor Khan as the attorney general for Pakistan (AGP).
“The Ministry of Law has forwarded a summery/recommendation in this connection to the PM Secretariat. A notification in this regard is likely to be issued on Saturday (today),” a senior official in law ministry told The Express Tribune.
Earlier, there was confusion with regard to appointment of the AGP as Khalid Javed Khan had excused himself to continue as the AGP but one group within the PTI wanted to retain him.
On August 9, Khalid Javed Khan met the then prime minister-elect Imran Khan for the first time at the PTI chief’s Bani Gala residence, where he was asked to continue working as the AGP – a request that Khalid had reportedly accepted.
However, one group within the PTI was against the idea and wanted to replace him with Anwar Mansoor Khan, a Karachi-based lawyer who served as the AGP during the Pakistan Peoples Party’s last government. Anwar was also counsel for former army chief Pervez Musharraf in treason case.
The same group — which is mostly dominant in the PTI Karachi chapter — was able to convince Imran Khan to appoint Anwar Mansoor as the new AGP. However, the other group in the PTI which supported Khalid strongly opposed replacing the AGP, who, they believe, is respected both by the bench and the bar.
And this group once again prevailed on Khan halted notification for Anwar’s appointment. However, Khalid Javed Khan has now refused to contest for the slot.
It is also learnt that the PTI senior member Hamid Khan, who was sidelined by the party during Panama Papers case hearing, has become active to adjust his lawyers’ group members on key posts.
Both Dr Farogh Nasim, the newly elected law minister, and Anwar Mansoor Khan are active members of Hamid Khan’s lawyers group, also known as Professional Group. Nasim was elected as the Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman with the support of the same group two years ago.
On the other hand, Asma Jehangir Group members like Ahsan Bhoon and others, who gave a tough time to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the recent past and supported the PTI’s stance, are showing reservations over appointment of rival group’s lawyers on key posts.
However, there is no doubt that Nasim is a very professional lawyer and his induction as the law minister would help bring judicial reforms in the country. The legal experts believe that biggest challenge for new the AGP will be to defend Pakistan’s case in litigation at international forums.
However, the legal debate has also started that whether above 65 year old lawyer can be appointed as AGP because his qualification is similar to Supreme Court’s judge, who retires on the age of 65 year.
However, senior lawyers believe that above 65 years old lawyer can be appointed as AGP as in the past, Aziz A Munshi had worked as AGP. Even he was above 65.
Likewise, this issue has been settled in India wherein it is held that there is no retirement age of Attorney General or Advocate General, therefore, above 65 year old can be appointed. Anwar is above 65.