Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah, while hearing a case related to the appointment of Mirza Shehzad Akbar, Assistant to the Prime Minister, remarked that the Premier can appoint anyone as an advisor as per the constitution.
Yesterday, the High Court was hearing a petition filed by Chief Justice Advocate Pervez Zahoor challenging the appointment of Shehzad Akbar as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister.
The petition appealed to the court to annul the appointment of Shehzad Akbar and argued that Justice Faiz Issa of the Supreme Court had also questioned his credentials and accountability on his appointment as Assistant to the Prime Minister.
The petition filed in the Islamabad High Court further alleges that Akbar was “using political influence”.
During today’s hearing, Justice Minallah remarked that “if the Prime Minister does not appoint a competent person as his advisor, it is at his discretion”.
In his arguments, Amanullah Kanrani, counsel for the petitioner, argued that the appointment of unelected members was against the rules of the National Assembly, to which Justice Athar Minallah said that “constitutionally the Prime Minister can appoint anyone as an advisor”.
The lawyer said that “Shahzad Akbar is part of the federal cabinet”.
Justice Athar Minallah said that in a case related to the Sugar crisis, the Islamabad High Court had ruled that Shahzad Akbar could not be part of the federal cabinet.
Petitioner’s counsel told the court that during the National Assembly session yesterday, Shehzad Akbar had answered questions despite the presence of federal ministers.
The Chief Justice inquired, “We have written this in the decision of our Sugar Mills case. Now, has there been any fear that they are interfering in the NAB?” ‘
He said, “Just giving a name does not prove anyone’s interference. Did he interfere in the affairs of the chairman NAB? Did he interfere in the FIA?” You did not put anything like that in front of us.
The Chief Justice said, “The Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament. We must strengthen Parliament. Lack of governance and non-implementation of laws create some issues.
The High Court later reserved judgment in the case.
It should be noted that Shahzad Akbar has also been nominated in another case in which the appointments of 15 special assistants have been challenged.
The case is being heard by a separate bench of the Islamabad High Court.
It may be recalled that on July 22 this year, Shehzad Akbar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Accountability, was transferred and posted as Imran Khan’s Adviser on Admission and Accountability.
According to a notification issued by the Cabinet Secretariat, the President, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appointed Mirza Shehzad Akbar as Imran Khan’s Adviser on Accountability and Home Affairs, before which he was acting Special Assistant for Accountability and Home Affairs.
It should be noted that legally, the post of Advisor to the Prime Minister is equivalent to that of Federal Minister and Special Assistant to the Minister of State.
Prior to his appointment as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Shehzad Akbar followed petitions filed in various courts against US drone strikes in the tribal areas, while he also served as Assistant to the NAB under former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.