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PESHAWAR: A lawyer on Tuesday challenged holding of oath-taking ceremony of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor at the Governor’s House instead of high court.

He requested the court that the incoming as well as future governors may be stopped from taking oath at the Governor’s House before entering their office.

The writ petition has been filed by Advocate Shabir Hussain Gigyani in the Peshawar High Court.

He points out that just like a chief justice of the high court visits the Governor’s House to take oath of his office from the governor, in the same manner while taking oath of his office, which is administered by the chief justice, the governor-designate should visit the high court.

As interim relief, the petitioner requests the high court to stay the oath taking of the incoming governor.

The post of governor fell vacant after the resignation of Iqbal Zafar Jhagra that was accepted by the President of Pakistan on August 20. Presently, KP Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani has been serving as acting governor.

The respondents in the petition are: principal secretary to the President of Pakistan; principal secretary to the prime minister; secretary cabinet division; secretary law and parliamentary affairs Islamabad; principal secretary to KP governor; attorney general for Pakistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa advocate general.

The petitioner contends that as per the real interpretation of Article 102 of the Constitution, it is mandatory that before entering the office the governor shall make oath before the chief justice of the high court.

The petitioner contends that just like the chief justice visits the Governor’s House to take oath of his office, which is administered by the governor, the governor-designate is also required to appear before the chief justice to take oath before entering his office.

He contends that the same non-compliance is also practiced in the oath taking of the President of Pakistan as per Article 42 of the Constitution.

The petitioner states that in utter violation of the mandate of Article 102 neither the governor honour the term “before the chief justice of the high court” by proceeding to the high court for taking oath nor the term “before entering upon office” has been complied with, which is evident from oath taking ceremonies at the governor’s houses of all the provinces.

Mr Gigyani contends that this non-compliance with the mandate of Article 102 is liable to be declared as illegal and unlawful.

He questions whether in case of Article 102 movement of a sitting chief justice towards a designated governor would not be a question mark on independence of the judiciary.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2018