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PCO judge, ex-NAB official join govt’s legal team

April 12, 2012

Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani talks with Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Farooq H. Naek during meeting at PM House in Islamabad on Thursday, April 12, 2012. (PPI Images).

ISLAMABAD: A day after appointing former Senate chairman Farooq Naek as Minister of Law and Justice, the government revamped its legal team and appointed former prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau Irfan Qadir as the Attorney General and PCO judge Yasmin Abbasi as the Secretary of Law and Justice Division.

Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq has been moved to the Presidency as a consultant (legal affairs).

A source in the Pakistan People’s Party said the decision to reconstitute the legal team had been taken by President Asif Ali Zardari apparently in view of cases being tried in the Supreme Court.

Mr Qadir and Ms Abbasi had been removed from their offices by the Supreme Court.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had replaced Secretary for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Masood Chishti with Mr Qadir.

A notification issued on the day said Mr Qadir had been serving as a consultant (legal affairs) in the Presidency.

According to an official statement, Mr Chishti was transferred to the prime minister’s inspection commission as senior member.

Mr Qadir has been rendering his services to the government for several years as a legal expert.

He was reappointed as prosecutor general of the NAB in September 2010, but was removed by the Supreme Court.

Even after the apex court’s orders, he refused to step down and asserted that he had been appointed by the president and not by the court. This led to a crisis-like situation.

He filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the order of his removal. But acting on the court’s directive, Prime Minister Gilani ordered withdrawal of Mr Qadir’s privileges and said the court’s orders would be implemented in letter and spirit. After that nothing was heard of Mr Qadir for sometime.

Ms Abbasi, a former judge of the Sindh High Court, was among seven PCO judges who had filed an intra-court appeal in the apex court challenging their removal.

The Supreme Court, however, dismissed their appeal on May 17, 2011 and ruled that contempt of court proceedings might be initiated against them, declaring that all serving PCO judges ceased to be judges the day the 18th Amendment was approved.

The court asked the government to notify the termination of services of the judges who had taken oath under the PCO and said that the judges would also have to return all the perks and privileges received over the past year because they took oath in defiance of a restraining order issued by the seven-member bench of the Supreme Court on Nov 3, 2007.