ISLAMABAD: Law Minister Farogh Naseem resigned on Tuesday to represent army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa before the Supreme Court Wednesday in a case regarding an extension in his tenure.
Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid confirmed the development at a joint news conference with Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shahzad Akbar, following a meeting of the federal cabinet.
Rashid said Naseem had resigned voluntarily because as a federal minister he could not appear before the Supreme Court.
Another cabinet member, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, however, said the law minister was asked by Prime Minister Imran Khan to step down.
Rashid, however, contradicted reports suggesting that the prime minister had reprimanded the law minister for not giving him proper advice on the reappointment of Gen Qamar, leading to the unnecessary controversy.
Akbar said Naseem could return to the cabinet subject to the prime minister’s approval.
Meanwhile, media reports questioned if Naseem could represent Gen Qamar in the apex court as his licence had reportedly been suspended by the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) a few months back.
After joining the cabinet as law minister, Naseem was required to get his licence suspended under Rule 108-O of the Pakistan Legal Practitioners & Bar Councils Rules, 1976. However, he failed to do that voluntarily, leading the PBC to suspend his licence.
The attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) quashed the ruling, but the PBC claimed that the AGP was not entitled to annul its decision. In this scenario, Naseem will have to approach the PBC for renewal of his licence.
However, the PTI denied the media reports calling them “misleading”.
“The statements being made by some individuals that Barrister Farogh Naseem's Supreme Court Licence has been suspended are incorrect & misleading,” Barrister Maleeka Bokhari, Parliamentary Secretary Law & Justice, wrote on her Twitter handle.