QUETTA: Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Monday declared Special Assistants to the Chief Minister Balochistan Act, 2018 null and void.
A two-member bench comprising BHC Chief Justice Jamal Mandokhel and Justice Abdullah Baloch announced the decision which had been reserved two days ago.
The court ordered the special assistants to return all incentives, except salaries, received during the period of their services.
Under Article 130, Subsection 11 of the Constitution of Pakistan, a chief minister can’t appoint more than five advisors. Therefore, the appointment of special assistants to CM is unconstitutional, maintained the high court.
The act was passed in Nov 2018 immediately after which the provincial Chief Minister Jam Kamal appointed four of his close aides as special assistants. All four of them belonged to the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).
The plea against the act had been filed by Advocate Ali Ahmed Kakar on behalf of a citizen on the grounds that the act was contradictory to the Constitution.
After hearing arguments of the petitioner’s lawyers and special counsel, the court had reserved the judgement. Advocate Ali Ahmed Kakar, Advocate Khalid Khan Kakar and Advocate Faridullah Kakar appeared in court on behalf of the petitioner Babar Mushtaq.
Kamal had appointed BAP Secretary General Manzoor Khan Kakar, Husnain Hashmi, son of Saeed Ahmed Hahsmi – founder of BAP, Capt (retd) Abdul Khaliq Achakzai and Rameen Muhammad Hassani, son of Sardar Rustam Jan Muhammad Hassani as special assistants to the chief minister.
The joint opposition parties then slammed the provincial government for giving undue favour to BAP. Later, the appointments triggered a new debate on favouritism in the cash-strapped province as the special assistants received all the privileges and protocol being enjoyed by the provincial ministers and advisers.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2020.