LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday provisionally reinstated 20 law officers removed by the caretaker government of Punjab.

Justice Muzamil Akhtar Shabbir passed the stay order on a petition filed by the additional and assistant advocate general, including Tipu Salman Makhdoom, Rai Shahid Saleem, Ali Ijaz, Asif Cheema, and Shazia Ashraf Khan.

Former advocate general of Punjab Ahmad Awais represented the petitioners and argued that the caretaker government had no powers to terminate the law officers. He said a caretaker government could not perform the functions of an elected government. He argued the caretaker governments were formed to hold fair and free elections only. He asked the court to set aside the impugned notifications regarding removal of the law officers.

Justice Shabbir suspended the notifications to the extent of the petitioners’ removal and sought a reply from the government by a date to be fixed by the office later.

Through a notification issued on Jan 24, the caretaker government removed AGP Awais and assigned a look-after charge to Additional Advocate General Jawad Yaqoob. Other law officers who were fired included 32 additional and 65 assistant attorneys general. The government also appointed 55 new additional and assistant advocate generals.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2023

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