No reason cited: Top ‘sevadar’ law officer shown the door

Khan made headlines by sweeping floors and polishing shoes of devotees at Sikh gurdwaras in India.

Umer Farooq August 02, 2012


The government has sacked a top law officer who swept floors, did the dishes and polished shoes at shrines and places of worship during a recent official trip to India to ‘promote inter-faith harmony’.

Muhammad Khurshid Khan, a deputy attorney general based in Peshawar, confirmed to The Express Tribune that he has been de-notified and replaced with Farooq Shah.

Known for his seva (community service), Khan is currently in Kathmandu, Nepal, for a service pilgrimage (Sevadari). However, he has cut short his planned tour of Bhutan and Tibet and will return to Pakistan on Thursday (today).

Khan made headlines in Indian press in March, this year, by sweeping floors and polishing shoes of devotees at Sikh gurdwaras in India, including Golden Temple.

This was, according to Khan, “to heal the wounds of minorities in Pakistan by becoming their sevadar (performer of service)”. For him, it was a “penance for his crimes.”

Back home, his sevadari did not go well with conservatives. The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) issued him a show-cause notice for ‘defaming’ Pakistan abroad. However, the notice was never delivered to Khan following a strong criticism from liberal lawyers.

Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir also confirmed that Khan has been replaced with Shah. However, he did not cite any reason for Khan’s removal from the post.

“DAG is not a permanent post. It’s assigned for three years,” Qadir told The Express Tribune by phone from Islamabad.

Even if Qadir’s claim is believed, Khan has not completed his three-year term. According to Khan, he had assumed the charge in September 2010 and his stint should have expired in September 2013.

Interestingly, Khurshid Khan, also a loyalist of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), gave another reason for his sacking.

“I’ve been punished for my struggle against corruption and for challenging Dewaan-e-Khaas, a restaurant allegedly built on public property by Awami National Party activists,” Khan told The Express Tribune by phone from Kathmandu. Khan added that he has called up his son and asked him to return the official vehicle.

Khan claimed that an ANP activist had threatened him to withdraw his petition against the restaurant or else he would be fired. “Now, [after sacking] I’ve been released from the golden cage. I will continue to fight against corruption,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2012.