Formation of CCoP challenged

15 Jul 2020

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday admitted a petition for regular hearing against the appointment of three advisers to the prime minister as members of the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP).

The petitioner also requested the court to issue a directive for the CCoP to stop its proceedings aimed at privatising government entities.

Challenging the inclusion of advisers Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Abdul Razak Dawood and Dr Ishrat Hussain in the cabinet committee, the petition, moved through Barrister Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, argued that only elected representatives of the people had the right to govern the country.

According to the petition, the government issued a notification on April 25 to nominate Minister for Communications Murad Saeed, Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Privatisation Mohammadmian Soomro, Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain.

IHC admits petition seeking stay on privatisation of Roosevelt Hotel, other PIA assets

The counsel argued that Pakistan can only be governed by chosen representatives and any non-elected person, who is neither a member of parliament nor has taken oath under the Constitution, cannot be part of the cabinet and its committee.

The petition stated: “Unlike ministers, advisers are not part of the federal government, they do not take oath, they are not responsible to the parliament in term of Article 91(6) of the Constitution, they are not subject to the qualification and disqualification provided under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, before and after their appointment advisers are not bound to submit their statements of assets and liabilities…and they are not subject to any kind of scrutiny.”

The petitioner challenged the inclusion of Mr Shaikh, Mr Dawood and Dr Husain in the CCoP on these grounds.

While mentioning that important matters such as privatisation of Roosevelt Hotel, assets of the Pakistan International Airlines and other government-owned organisations were pending before the CCoP, the petitioner pressed for stay on the cabinet committee proceedings.

The petitioner urged the high court to issue a directive for the committee to stop the proceedings to privatise the government entities. He further requested the court to summon details as to how many decisions have been taken by the committee since its formation and how many matters are pending before it.

The court issued a notice to the government and adjourned the matter for next week.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2020