LAHORE: Removal of acting advocate general (AG) by the Lahore High Court (LHC) is a blow to the Punjab government, which despite not being the appointing authority for the office, let Mustafa Ramday hold the post for a year.
According to Article 140(1) of the Constitution, the provincial governor appoints a person qualified to be appointed a judge of the high court as the AG. Among other requirements, the nominee must not be younger than 45 years.
Ramday, a son of former Supreme Court judge Khalilur Rehman Ramday, was appointed AG in July 2013 although he did not fulfil the required criteria.
On July 2, a full bench of the LHC had directed the Punjab government to appoint a permanent AG within 15 days. On July 4, Ramday resigned from office.
His appointment had been challenged in the LHC by some lawyers, including nine members of Punjab Bar Council.
After proceedings that continued for a year, the LHC declared the appointment illegal and ordered appointment of a permanent AG.
On July 12, 2013, the Punjab law secretary had issued a notification, appointing Ramday as additional AG. The following day (July 13), the secretary issued another notification stating that Ramday would look after the office of AG until a permanent AG was appointed.
All this was done without the consent of the governor. Following the second notification from the secretary, Ramday assumed charge as the acting AG.
Advocate Noshab Khan, who was one of the lawyers who had challenged Ramday’s appointment, told The Express Tribune that Ramday was given undue favour to hold the post of AG. He said the appointment was similar to one made by former president Asif Ali Zardari who had favoured a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) deputy chairman by giving him acting charge of NAB chairman without meeting the criteria.
LHC Chief Justice Khwaja Imtiaz Ahmad posted District and Sessions Judge Salahuddin registrar of the court last week. Salahuddin was repatriated from Accountability Court-II of Lahore. Former registrar Mehboob Qadir Shah was directed to report to the court for further orders.
Missing major and his son
The LHC sought reports from federal and provincial governments last week on an application seeking formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the alleged disappearance of Major (retd) Mujahid Azeem Tariq and his son Ali Tariq.
Naeema Tariq filed the application in addition to her pending main petition for the recovery of her husband Tariq and son Ali. She said law enforcement agencies had failed to trace the whereabouts of her missing family members. She said all the agencies had denied having any information about the missing persons.
The petitioner requested the court to constitute a joint investigation team comprising officers of all law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Justice Anwarul Haq heard the arguments and sought replies from the governments within a fortnight. The Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau had already denied having custody of either of the missing persons.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2014.
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