MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) Advocate General Khawaja Maqbool Var has informed the government that a production order in favour of a convicted Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) cannot be issued under the prevailing laws and rules.

He gave this opinion in writing to AJK secretary for law, justice, human rights and parliamentary affairs on Monday, a day after the latter had sought his legal advice that whether a ‘production order’ could be issued in favour of the incarcerated ruling party lawmaker Malik Zaffar Iqbal so that he could attend the upcoming assembly session(s).

Mr Iqbal, who is still holding the office of minister for higher education, has been serving his prison sentence in Kotli since Aug 3 when a court of law had held him guilty of a nearly two decades old murder “beyondany considerable or substantial shadow of doubt.”

The advocate general recalled that Mr Iqbal was sentenced to 14 years rigorous imprisonment under section 302 (C) of the Azad Penal Code by the Shariat Appellate bench of the AJK High Court on Aug 3.

Continuing, he said, Mr Iqbal had also filed an appeal along with an application for suspension of sentence and grant of bail in the AJK Supreme Court which had held on Sept 7 that it would hear his appeal and application together with the appeal of his opponents on October 4.

“[Since] so far the apex court has not suspended the verdict of the Shariat Appellate Bench, the punishment handed down to Mr Iqbal on Aug 3, 2022 holds ground and the case is still sub-judice,” the advocate general said, concluding thatproduction order could not be issued in favour of a convicted legislator for his participation in the assembly session.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2022

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