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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) extended its order restraining Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi to perform duties as special assistant to the prime minister.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Friday heard Sheikh Rashid’s petition against the appointment of Abbasi as special assistant (with the status of federal minister) to prime minister.

During the hearing, the IHC chief justice remarked that in light of the judgment of the Supreme Court nobody could hold the public office until his conviction was sustained. DAG Syed Tayyab Shah said that pursuant to its order, dated 09-05-2022, a summary has been already sent to the prime minister for reviewing the appointment of Abbasi as the SAPM.

Justice Minallah remarked that there was a clear judgment of the apex court that no convicted person could hold any public office. He added that first, there was a need to remove the conviction from the court if one wanted to hold a public office.

He further said that this court did not interfere into the affairs of the executive but they should view such matters by themselves.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing. In its previous written order, the IHC bench had directed the secretary Cabinet Division to place the matter related to the appointment of Abbasi as SAPM before the prime minister. Justice Minallah observed, “In case the conviction has not been set aside then the worthy Prime Minister will be expected to reconsider the appointment of Abbasi.”

The IHC chief justice noted, “Suspension of the sentence by an appellate court does not in any manner affect the conviction. The distinction between ‘conviction’ and ‘sentence’ has been highlighted by the august Supreme Court in the case titled “Federation of Pakistan and others v Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.”

In his petition, Sheikh informed the court that the First Information Report (the “FIR”) No 41 dated 21-07-2012, was registered against the Respondent No 2 (Hanif Abbasi) at Police Station Anti-Narcotics Force RD North Rawalpindi under Sections 9(c), 14 and 15 of Control of Narcotic Substance Act, 1997 (the “CNSA 1997”).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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