Mansoor Usman Awan has recused himself from becoming the new Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) due to “unavoidable professional commitments”.
Sources revealed to The Express Tribune that Awan informed the incumbent federal government that he would not be in a position to get the portfolio of AGP at this time.
In his letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Awan stated, "last month you had offered me to serve as the Attorney General for Pakistan, for which I am very grateful. However, due to unavoidable professional commitments, I will be unable to serve as the Attorney General for Pakistan, at this time. I remain very thankful to you for reposing your confidence in me."
Read SC takes notice of delay in AGP appointment
On December 24, President Arif Alvi had approved the summary regarding Awan’s appointment as the new AGP. However, his notification was not issued due to the reservations of one section of the judiciary.
Subsequently, a division bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Qazi Faez Isa took notice of the delay in appointing the new AGP. The matter is yet to be fixed for hearing.
Awan, who enjoys a good reputation within the legal fraternity, was partner with Justice Babar Sattar in a legal firm before the latter’s appointment to the Islamabad High Court.
Senior lawyers are of the view that Awan became a victim of judicial politics. The debate also continues whether the government appoints the AGP after informal approval of the judiciary.
Now Awan himself has decided not to become a part of any controversy and focus on his private practice.
He was former Punjab chief minister Hamza Shehbaz's counsel in a case wherein the three-judge special bench of the apex court had set aside the ruling of deputy speaker Dost Mazari.
All the respondents in the case including Hamza had boycotted the court proceedings after the bench had refused to form full court in the matter.
After Awan’s refusal, the government has again started looking for a new AGP, sources said, adding that the incumbent regime is considering a Lahore-based lawyer for the post.
The resignation of former AGP Ashtar Ausaf Ali has already been accepted.
The appointment of new AGP will be significant regarding the appointment of two SC judges.
Interestingly, Awan was not among the lawyers who supported the seniority principle for the elevation of judges to the apex court. However, it is believed that he is close to one section of the judiciary as well as superior bars which are following the seniority principle for the elevation of judges to the top court.
He completed his Master of Law (LLM) in 2005 from Harvard Law School and received the Dean’s Award for Leadership. He also served as president of the Harvard Graduate Council from 2004-05.
He did his Bachelor of Law (LLB) from the Punjab University Law College in 2002 and earned the Justice M Jan Memorial gold medal for the first position in jurisprudence, and the Charles Earl Bevan Petman law prize for the first position in criminal law.
Awan was also the counsel of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) in several matters including the implementation of Article 95 and presidential reference on the interpretation of Article 63(A) of the Constitution.
On behalf of the SCBA, Awan also filed a petition against the lifetime disqualification of lawmakers under Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution.
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