LAHORE: A writ petition was filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking directives for Law secretary and office of Punjab advocate general to formulate a mechanism for appointment of law officers with the AGP and to bar them from taking part in political rallies.
Advocate Chudhry Shoaib Saleem moved the petition submitting that on Oct 13, former additional advocate general Khawar Ikram Bhatti slapped a police officer outside a NAB court despite holding a constitutional post. He said it was the day when Captain (retd) Safdar and Maryam Nawaz had to appear before the NAB court. Being a public office holder, he was obligated to have been in his office or in court performing his duties as he was drawing a hefty salary from the national exchequer but he was there in the crowd, the lawyer said. He alleged that the law officers participate in political rallies, the conduct, act and omission of Khawar Ikram Bhatti being an example of it, though an FIR No 286/17 was also lodged against him under sections of 353, 186 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code with Police Station Ramna, Islamabad on the same day, and subsequently he was also removed from the office.
Saleem further said that the appointment mechanism of the law officers is not regulated by any rules or law and is totally dependent on the pleasure of the executive head of the government which itself nibbles away the fair exercise of discretionary appointments and undermines the competency of the office. He alleged that mostly, the law officers are appointed with AGP from the political wings of various political parties and no open announcements are made before their appointments. He stated that the law officers having political support and background are selected for various posts in the office of AGP and they remain involved in political activities for their vested interests instead of advancing the interests of the supremacy of law and the Constitution. Justice Abadur Rehman Lodhi also restrained Khawar Iktam Bhatti from performing his duty in his court by observing that it is against the dignity of a law officer to hit a police officer.
The Law officers are employees of state but not of a political party, the court observed. It also directed the advocate general office to appoint a professional and non-political law officer in his court. He said that appointments must be made on merit to such embarrassing incidents.