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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday gave the provincial government another week to respond to a petition challenging the appointment of retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan as the caretaker chief minister.

Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Ikramullah Khan fixed July 5 for the next hearing into the petition of lawyer Syed Azizuddin Kakakhel, who insisted that the caretaker chief minister’s appointment violated articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution and the National Judicial Policy, 2009.

Advocate general Abdul Samad Khan said he had just assumed the office and therefore, he should be given appropriate time to file reply to the petition as directed by the court in the last hearing.

Lawyer challenges retired Justice Dost’s appointment over ‘constitutional breach’

The petitioner requested the court to declare the chief minister’s appointment illegal and direct the respondents, including the country’s president and chief election commissioner, to make fresh appointment to the office in line with articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

When the bench began hearing, the petitioner said the case was of urgent nature as the caretaker chief minister was appointed for a limited time.

The bench asked him about the grounds on which he wanted the appointment to be declared illegal.

The petitioner said Justice Dost Mohammad had retired as a Supreme Court judge on March 20, 2018, and assumed the caretaker chief minister’s office on June 6, 2018, violating the Article 63 of the Constitution, which barred government employees from assuming public offices within two years of retirement.

When the bench asked whether articles 62 and 63 could be applied to a caretaker chief minister’s appointment, the petitioner insisted that the office in question was political one and therefore, the constitutional provisions should be applied to it.

He said whenever a person was appointed to that post, he or she took oath under the Constitution and therefore, he or she was bound to fulfil the requirement given in articles 62 and 63.

The petitioner said a person should be disqualified from being elected or being chosen as parliamentarian if he or she had been in the service of Pakistan or of any other statutory body unless a period of two years had elapsed since he or she ceased to be in service.

He said under the National Judicial Policy, 2009, no retired judge of the Supreme Court should accept an appointment lower to his or her status or dignity.

The respondents in the petition are the caretaker chief minister, chief election commissioner, KP provincial election commissioner, provincial government through its chief secretary, provincial governor through his secretary, and the country’s president through his secretary.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2018