- IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah takes up Sheikh Rashid's petition challenging Abbasi's appointment
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed on Monday Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to review the appointment of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Hanif Abbasi as a special assistant to PM, Aaj News reported.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah took up former interior minister Sheikh Rashid's petition challenging the appointment of Abbasi as SAPM. In his petition, filed through his counsel Sajeel Sheryar Swati, Rashid had said that Abbasi's appointment was illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional as he was convicted and sentenced for offenses registered against him.
He said that the Anti Narcotics Force in 2012 had registered an FIR against Abbasi under Section 9-C, 14 and 15 of the Control of Narcotics Substance Act, 1997 for selling 500kg ephedrine to drug smugglers instead of using the controlled chemical in medicine. Abbasi was sentenced to life in prison in July 2018 but in April 2019, the Lahore High Court suspended the sentence.
The judge rejected the plea to stop Abbasi from working as SAPM immediately but also directed the PM to review the appointment.
The IHC issued notices to the federation through the Cabinet division secretary and Abbasi on the plea against his appointment and adjourned the hearing till May 17.
Meanwhile, the judge also expressed his displeasure over allegations hurled against the courts in public gatherings by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Justice Minallah said it was being asked every day why the courts had opened at midnight during a National Assembly session to hold the no-confidence motion against former PM Imran Khan, saying "the courts are open to everyone".
He asked Rashid not to undermine people's trust in the judiciary by making such political statements.
Following his ouster in April, former PM Imran Khan had said “this will remain in my heart for the whole life that the courts were opened at midnight to oust me”.
The Supreme Court (SC) and the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had opened their doors beyond their notified timings on Saturday (April 10), the deadline given by the SC to hold voting on no-trust move against Khan.