ISLAMABAD, Aug 1: The law ministry in a single day sacked nine law officers of grade 20, from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and Lahore High Court (LHC) inducted by the estranged leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), former law minister, Senator Babar Awan and his brother Ghulam Farooq Awan.

Earlier, on March 30 this year, Capital Development Authority (CDA) removed 30 law officers from its panel, who either were close to Senator Awan or inducted by him or his brother Farooq Awan, who was adviser to the prime minister.

According to the notification of the law ministry issued on July 31, the law officers removed from IHC and LHC included deputy attorney general Mohammad Abid Raja, standing counsel Raja Mohammad Yasin, Malik Ishtiaq Ahmed, Shabbir Mehmood Malik, Javedullah Khattak, Azhar Naveed Shah, Javed Iqbal Butt, Rehanuddin and Khawaja Javed Iqbal Gohar.

The sources in the ministry told Dawn that Law Minister Farooq H. Naek was not comfortable with the outgoing law officers and finally sent them home becaue he wanted to induct his own team.

According to the sources, initially the law ministry sent a summary for the appointment of nine law officers to the prime minister but later the names of four more advocates — Jalil Hussain, Khalid Pervaiz, Iftikhar Hussain Qureshi and Mohammad Zulqarnain — who belong to the constituency of prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf were also added in the summary.

Rehanuddin, one of the sacked law officers, when contacted claimed that it was a political decision, as the decision to remove and appoint law officers was not taken on merit.

He said most of the newly-inducted law officers were unknown lawyers and their appointment was beyond his understanding.

The law ministry issued another notification on July 31 for the appointment of 13 law officers to pursue the cases related to the federal government in IHC and LHC.

The newly appointed law officers included deputy attorneys general Syed Jalil Hussain, Zafar Mehmood Mughal, standing counsels Javed Iqbal, Raja Mohammad Raees Satti, Raja Mohammad Shakil Abbasi (president People’s Lawyers Forum, Islamabad chapter), Mohammad Sajid Tanoli (divisional coordinator PLF, Rawalpindi), Mohammad Hussain, Shah Jehan Qureshi, Azmat Ali Qureshi, Sarkar Abbas, Khalid Pervez, Iftikhar Hussain Qureshi and Mohammad Zulqarnain.

Sajid Tanoli, the newly-inducted law officer, said that being a diehard worker of PPP and experienced lawyer he deserved the post.

Earlier, the advocates having less experience and no affiliation with the PPP had been appointed as standing counsel and deputy attorneys general, adding that the government rightly judged the grievances of genuine political workers by removing opportunists from key positions.

In charge deputy attorney general at IHC Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, on the other hand, said that the removal and new inductions were routine matter and there was no political motive behind these moves.

He said that the performance of law officers was regularly being monitored, and for the expeditious disposal of cases related to the federal government, some changes have been made.

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