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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has requested the Peshawar High Court to dismiss a petition challenging the caretaker chief minister’s appointment, claiming it’s not maintainable as the petitioner hasn’t given any valid reason for the removal of retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan from the office.

Provincial advocate general Abdul Samad Khan has jointly filed written comments of three respondents in the case, including provincial chief secretary, caretaker chief minister and governor, saying the petitioner hadn’t named the Election Commission of Pakistan, which had decided about the interim chief minister’s appointment, the respondent and therefore, the petition should be dismissed.

The petitioner, Syed Azizuddin Kakakhel, a lawyer by profession, said the appointment of retired Justice Dost as the chief minister went against Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution as well as the National Judicial Policy, 2009.

He said Justice Dost Mohammad had retired as a Supreme Court judge on Mar 20, 2018, and assumed the public office on June 6, 2018, before completing the two years mandatory post-retirement period.

In comments, the three respondents said since the notification of the chief minister’s appointment was issued by the ECP and that no appeal had been filed against it with the Supreme Court, the petition was not maintainable.

They added that the Constitution and the Elections Act, 2017, didn’t prescribe any qualification or disqualification for the caretaker chief minister’s appointment and therefore, the court couldn’t assume the jurisdiction to strike down that appointment.

The respondents said the caretaker chief minister was named by the ECP in line with Sub-Article 3 of Article 224-A of the Constitution and that the provisions of Article 62 and 63 came into play for the permanent chief minister and not a caretaker chief minister and therefore, the petitioner’s contention on the matter was of no value.

They said the caretaker chief minister was neither chosen from among political parties nor was he a political party member or chosen for contesting election and so, the provisions of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution didn’t apply to his appointment.

The respondents claimed that the petitioner had failed to specifically assert why and under what law, such office couldn’t be assumed by retired Justice Dost Mohammad nor had he pointed out any sort of disqualification on part of the caretaker chief minister to hold and continue with the current portfolio.

The petitioner also filed an application with the high court seeking early hearing into his petition. He claimed that the tenure of the caretaker chief minister would end on July 25 and if the petition wasn’t fixed for early hearing, it would become infructuous.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2018