Bar groups clash over appointment of law officers

ILF is also learnt to have submitted list of candidates for law officers for Centre, Punjab


Hasnaat Malik October 02, 2018
PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: The PTI-led government is reluctant to make fresh appointments of law officers as various groups clash for ascendancy in the share of appointments.

The government is apparently undecided in this regard even after more than one month in power, intensifying uncertainty among law officers about their future.

Currently, 147 law officers are working all over the country.

Meanwhile, the Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF), the PTI’s legal wing, is also concerned over the delay in appointing party’s lawyers as law officers.

According to sources, instead of giving a free hand to Attorney-General Anwar Mansoor Khan, Law Minister Dr Farogh Nasim, senior PTI lawyers Hamid Khan and Babar Awan proposed prospective candidates for appointment as new law officers.

Meanwhile, the ILF is also learnt to have submitted a list of candidates for law officers at the Centre and in Punjab.

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Interestingly, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) is also seeking to induct its loyalists into the Advocate-General’s office in the Punjab.

Last week, the sources said, Prime Minister Imran Khan intervened in the matter and decided to approve appointments of new law officers.

The PM assigned his Special Assistant on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq to hold meeting with all stakeholders to finalise names of prospective candidates.

According to the sources, names of provincial law officers in Punjab had already been approved by the PM and a notification is likely to be issued soon in this regard.

However, a section in the PTI wanted that incumbent federal law officers should not be removed until the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) annual election, scheduled to be held in the last week of this month.

Asma Jehangir Group has fielded a renowned lawyer, Ali Ahmad Kurd, as SCBA president while Amanullah Kunrani is the candidate of Hamid Khan Group who wanted to secure votes of incumbent law officers.

Both the law minister and the attorney-general are associated with Hamid Khan Group.

ILF’s Deputy Convener Qaisar Abbas Shah, while talking to The Express Tribune, expressed disappointment over the current situation.

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He admitted that bar politics was delaying the appointment of law officers. He also complained that the law minister, who belonged to the MQM, was unwilling to meet the ILF lawyers.

Shah said that PML-N lawyers, who had been active during the tenure of the previous government, were still holding key posts.

However, Shah was optimistic that the PTI leadership would take notice of the situation, accommodating most ILF lawyers in the new legal team.

Meanwhile, the Law Minister Nasim denied the ILF office-bearer’s claims, saying that the assertion that he was not giving time to the PTI lawyers was untrue. He insisted that he had met several ILF members after taking charge of the ministry.

Nasim maintained that the appointments had been delayed as the government wanted to appoint law officers on merit. “The government is, therefore, examining credentials of all nominees,” he said.

Rejecting the impression that the appointments had been delayed because of the difference of opinion between him and the attorney-general on prospective nominees or the SCBA election, Nasim maintained that the incumbent law officers having good reputation and integrity would not be removed.

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