The Supreme Court on Friday sought a detailed report from the government on the appointment of Zulfi Bukhari as the prime minister's special assistant on overseas Pakistanis and human resource development.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had appointed his close aide Zulfiqar Hussain Bukhari, aka Zulfi Bukhari, as his special assistant in September. Muhammad Adil Chattha from Lahore and Mirza Abdul Moiz Baig from Karachi filed a petition against his appointment which was taken up by the top court at the Lahore registry today.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, presiding over today's hearing, remarked that making appointments on important posts is a crucial national duty. "Such issues should be run as per the national interests and not on the basis of friendships," the CJP said.
Bukhari's counsel Aitzaz Ahsan told the court that the prime minister has the right to appoint his special advisers.
CJP said that the prime minister is a trustee of the people. "The prime minister should not run the affairs as per his own will; we will decide whether matters are being run as per the Constitution or not."
"Nepotism should not be seen in appointments on higher posts," added the top judge.
"On which basis was Bukhari appointed? Who directed that a summary be prepared [for his appointment]?"
The lawyer said that Bukhari was not given a constitutional post. He was appointed as per the rules of business.
"Bukhari is not a member of the cabinet," said Ahsan.
"This post [assistant to PM on overseas Pakistanis] should be given to a dual national," argued Ahsan, adding that holding visas of the United Kingdom and Pakistan helps the person [to run the affairs].
"We had not appreciated nepotism in the case of Jahangir Tareen. What is the specialty of Zulfi Bukhari? Or has he been appointed an assistant because he is a friend to 'someone'?" the CJP asked, noting that this was an important case.
Bukhari told the court that he has done his graduation in Political Science. He said that he has excellent relations with overseas Pakistanis and he claimed to be among the top 100 Pakistanis in the UK.
"I am a property developer in the UK and I have access to overseas Pakistanis to bring business to Pakistan. People know me," he said, when asked about his profession abroad.
"Did you ever live in Pakistan?" asked CJP Nisar. Bukhari replied that he studied in Pakistan for five years until the age of 18. "Must have been a 'mummy daddy' school," replied the judge.
The top judge directed Ahsan to submit a report on his client's credentials. The hearing of the case was adjourned until Dec 5.