ISLAMABAD: With superior courts repeatedly asking for who is representing the attorney general for Pakistan (AGP), the federal government is weighing options to whom it should nominate for the coveted post.
Potential candidates include Advocate Feisal Hussain Naqvi and Barrister Shehzad Ata Elahi, both young and from Lahore, an informed source told Dawn.
The AGP office has been vacant since last October when Ashtar Ausaf Ali resigned, citing health reasons. In his place, Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Aamir Rehman has been appearing to represent the government before the Supreme Court.
The federal government’s previous pick — Mansoor Usman Awan — finally gave way when he expressed his inability by writing a letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif due to the government’s failure to issue notification despite his nomination approved by President Dr Arif Alvi on Dec 23.
Feisal Naqvi, Shehzad Ata Elahi said to be potential candidates
The absence of any officer to represent the AGP office had even caught the attention not only of the Supreme Court but also of the Islamabad High Court, which has even sought a proper explanation from the law ministry in this regard.
Feisal Naqvi, senior partner at the law firm Bhandari Naqvi Riaz, is a known corporate lawyer and recently represented Barrick Gold Corporation — the Canada-based firm working on the Reko Diq gold and copper mining project — to assist senior counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan before the Supreme Court in a settlement deal for the project.
He also assisted Mr Khan when the latter was serving as the AGP during the tenure of former president Pervez Musharraf.
He has also participated in several international arbitrations and disputes like the Indus Waters Treaty against India.
Likewise, Shehzad Elahi is a grandson of former president Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry and enjoys a good reputation for his hard work, integrity and understanding of
legal issues. Barrister Elahi belongs to the famous law firm Cornelius, Lane & Mufti.
He is also a corporate lawyer who has rich experience in commercial, tax and banking laws, civil, commercial, corporate, constitutional litigation, etc.
Earlier, what had perturbed the superior courts was the non-issuance of notification of Mansoor Usman Awan, who was appointed as the 37th AGP after the approval of President Alvi, but he later resigned and the office has remained vacant since then.
The PML-N government is expected to soon nominate a person qualified for the coveted position to the president.
Highlighting the significance of the AGP office, Justice Qazi Faez Isa recently authored an order stating that the attorney general was a constitutional post, and it could not be left vacant since there was no mention of an acting AGP in the Constitution.
The order also noted that neither a deputy attorney general nor an additional attorney general was a substitute, but when they do attend court, they do so on instructions of the AGP.
Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2023