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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday issued notices to the federal government and others regarding the appointments of 15 special assistants to Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A division bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Lubna Saleem Pervaiz heard the petition which has challenged the appointments of special assistants. It directed the respondents to submit their replies in this connection within a fortnight.

The case was adjourned until February 3 for further proceedings.

Petitioner Farrukh Nawaz Bhatti filed the petition through his counsel GM Chaudhary Advocate and cited Prime Minister and fifteen special assistants including Naeemul Haq, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Nadeem Afzal, Ali Nawaz Awan, Zulfi Bukhari, Shahzad Akbar, Dr Moeed Yusuf, Usman Dar and others as respondents.

In the petition, Bhatti sought declaration of sub-rule (6) of Rule 4 of the Rules of Business, 1973, as ultra vires to the Constitution and illegal. He contended that the appointments of the special assistants are burden on debt-trapped national economy, adding misuse of public office and discretion are only to accommodate friends and cronies on public expense without having specialization in the relevant fields to be known or said as Special Assistants to the Prime Minister (SAPM). He maintained that a few SAPM have dual nationalities and therefore they are not entitled to hold offices or status as the federal minister or the minister of the state.

"All such appointments are liable to be set aside, void ab initio from their dates of appointment with a further direction to declare the actions, decisions or exercise of any power under any law as well as receipt of any financial benefit including their salaries, allowances, perks, privileges, etc, as illegal, void ab initio, coram non judice and illegal gain and to direct for recovery of such salaries, allowances, perks, privileges, etc, from the special assistants," added the petition.

It further said that as far as their competence and expertise in their respective areas allocated to them is questionable as there is no any noteworthy and substantial contribution of them towards the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its governance system except they had enjoyed the friendly relations or managed their appointments by using undue influence and receiving hefty salaries, allowances, perks and privileges.

He stated that Moeed Yusuf (respondent No. 11) had been staying since long in the United State of America and worked for different think tanks and his loyalty and obedience towards the Constitution is not certain as it is apprehended that such persons are a threat to national security as such persons have to return to their original positions and countries like Husain Haqqani with all state secrets with further apprehension of memogate like situation for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, maintained the petitioner.

Therefore, he prayed to the court it may declare that Rule 4(6) of the Rules of Business, 1973, is ultra vires to the Constitution and the law, illegal, coram non judice and being such is liable to be set aside ab initio and be set aside in the interest of constitutionalism in the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020


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