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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday once again directed the provincial government, chief minister’s adviser on law Barrister Murtaza Wahab, and others to file their respective replies on a constitutional petition assailing the status of minister being granted to the adviser.

A two-judge bench put off the hearing to Aug 31 while directing the advocate general to ensure filing of comments on behalf of the respondents.

The petition against the appointment of Mr Wahab was filed by Advocate Fareed Ahmed Dayo. The petitioner said the move to grant of ministerial status to adviser was in violation of Article 129 of the Constitution. He impleaded the chief secretary, law secretary, registrar/secretary of judicial commission, the adviser to the CM and others as respondents.

According to the petitioner, Mr Wahab was appointed adviser to the CM on law on April 30, 2015 and a few weeks later he was given the status of minister. The petitioner said the adviser was also appointed chairman of the board of governors for law colleges in Karachi which was in violation of two notifications issued by the Sindh government that stated that only the education minister or Karachi University vice chancellor could held the position in question.

Advocate Dayo submitted that the law adviser also lacked the necessary credentials for the post and his appointment was made on a “political basis”. He argued that Barrister Wahab was also appointed as pro-vice chancellor of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto University of Law and submitted that the appointment was also against the spirit of Section 11 of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto University of Law, Karachi Act, 2012.

The petitioner said the adviser was also attending meetings of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, which, according to him, was against Article 175(A) (5) (iii) of the Constitution, as Barrister Wahab was an adviser, not the law minister.

Referring to certain judgments of superior courts, the petitioner asked the court to strike down the appointment of Barrister Wahab as adviser to the chief minister on law and the subsequent grant of law minister’s status to him.

Advocate Dayo also requested the court to declare the re-constitution of the board of governors for law colleges illegal and to issue direction for formulation of the criteria for appointment of the chairman and non-official members.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2016