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Shujaat Azeem.—Photo by INP
Shujaat Azeem.—Photo by INP

ISLAMABAD: Facing a controversy over having been court-martialled and holding Canadian citizenship, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Aviation Shujaat Azeem appeared before the Supreme Court on Thursday and informed it that he had decided to resign from the post.

“Since he (Shujaat Azeem) is embroiled in the controversy which he does not want to expand because it will hamper his performance, he is tendering his resignation,” Attorney General Muneer A. Malik said on behalf of the adviser.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had summoned Mr Azeem to explain why in the light of articles 93(1,2) and 63 of the constitution, he was occupying the sensitive post with a status of minister of state when he had been court-martialled and was a dual national.

The matter cropped up on July 12 when the court’s attention was drawn to a news item headlined “New order for aviation causes uncertainty” during the hearing of a case relating to the delay in construction of the New Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Fatehjang, 30km southwest of Islamabad.

The report said that before his appointment as PM’s adviser Shujaat Azeem had served as chief executive officer of the Royal Air Service, a ground handling company, and was reportedly a partner of Chaudhry Munir, the main infrastructure contractor for the new airport -- an example of conflict of interest.

According to the report, Mr Azeem is a former pilot of the Lebanon’s Hariri family and he started his career as a PAF pilot. He holds Canadian citizenship.

Mr Azeem was court-martialled during his stint in the PAF and his not-so-good memories in the air force might not help him develop an interface with the defence ministry for coordination, the report said.

When the case was taken up on Thursday, the attorney general, along with the adviser, walked up to the rostrum and conceded that there was no doubt that Mr Azeem professed dual nationality but he did not solicit to become the adviser on aviation; rather he was invited by the prime minister to perform in the capacity of adviser.

Mr Azeem said he would meet the prime minister and tender his resignation.

The attorney general said Mr Azeem had been court-martialled on four minor charges, one of insubordination, but none involving offence of moral turpitude.

Referring to Mr Azeem’s appointment as chief executive officer of Royal Air Service, the AG said he had quit the post in February well before assuming the office of adviser to the prime minister. He accepted that aviation facilities had a relationship with national security but Mr Azeem wanted to assure the court that his loyalty was with Pakistan and in view of the controversy over his appointment he had decided to tender his resignation to the prime minister in order to avoid being embroiled further in such controversy.

The court ordered the attorney general to place on record the notification of acceptance of Mr Azeem’s resignation.

Comments (8) Closed

IBN-E-ASHFAQUE Jul 26, 2013 07:52am

Good riddance.

MK Jul 26, 2013 07:58am

He was court martial and he is advisor of the prime minister. he can assure that he is loyal to Pakistan,I am sure that he did not think about when he was taking oath. I do not understand that why these people do not understand the meaning of conflict of interest.

JAVAID KHAN Jul 26, 2013 08:49am

When will Nawaz Shareef learn?.He promised to bring the culture of merit in the country.But so far all appointments made by his goverment are based on his personal friendship..

asim Jul 26, 2013 10:24am

SC has closed eyes over PM appointment in violation of article 62.

This enables SC-CJ liable for impeachment protecting interests of the elite class

asim Jul 26, 2013 11:07am

THE PM himself is involved in corruption and as per article 62 he is unfit for any public position. Even he can not get the job of a peon or a clerk.

WHY SC-CJ closed his eyes on this issue?

This makes him to be tried for impeachment failing to provide justice to the people. An agent of the elite class

Hamid Shafiq Jul 26, 2013 11:09am

better to go back to canada and work in canadian aviation. he was court marshal by the military so why he become an advisor???????

Talat Hamdany Jul 26, 2013 12:45pm

It's very to find a clean man for any job in Pakistan. We are so deprived of moral turpitude that the fabric of the nation has turned to dust. Such is the character of the Muslim. All show no substance. 'The fault lies not in our stars.... but in our selves'.

elahi Jul 26, 2013 06:20pm

he should be banned to bid on any contracts !!!