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PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday set aside the appointment of 26 law officers to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa advocate general office by the provincial caretaker government by declaring two notifications in that respect illegal.

Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Mussarat Hilali accepted a petition challenging the July 2 appointment of 14 additional advocates general and 12 assistant advocates general by the current interim government.

The petition was jointly filed by former additional advocate general Raja Mohammad Zubair, two assistant advocates general, Yasir Zahoor and Mohammad Asif, stating that the caretaker government had very limited mandate under the law and it had overstepped its mandate.

Advocate Sardar Nasir Aslam Khan appeared for the petitioners and contended that the petitioners were appointed by the previous provincial government on merit and were posted to Abbottabad for representing the government before the PHC’s Abbottabad Circuit Bench.

He added that the petitioners were removed all of a sudden along with all other law officers of the AG office by the KP chief secretary without notice.

Mr Sardar Nasir said two notification s were issued on July 2 in that regard.

He said the caretaker government made fresh appointments to the vacancies through two impugned notifications.

The lawyer said as an interim set-up, the current government could not appoint and sack anyone for being without the mandate to interfere with public offices.

He added that the caretaker government could only make postings and transfers and that too with prior approval of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The lawyer said the appointment of the said 26 officers were worst kind of nepotism as relatives of ministers were appointed against these posts.

He said the Elections Act 2017 provides for the powers of the caretaker government, which did not include such like appointments. The lawyer claimed that most of those officers didn’t qualify for the positions.

He said the appointments violated the KP Appointment of Law Officers Act, 2014, as those officers didn’t meet the qualification given therein.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2018