Majority decision upheld the impugned notification
The law officers had challenged their removal
LAHORE: A Lahore High Court (LHC) five-judge larger bench with a majority of four to one on Tuesday upheld the removal of advocate general of Punjab and other law officers by the caretaker government in the province.
Justice Ali Baqar Najafi headed the bench with Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, Justice Shahid Karim, Justice Asim Hafeez and Justice Anwaar Hussain.
A short order announced by the bench says, “For the reasons to be recorded later, with a majority of four to one with Asim Hafeez, J. dissenting, these writ petitions are partially allowed.”
The majority decision upheld the impugned notification regarding the removal of the Advocate General Punjab Ahmad Awais and other law officers issued by the caretaker government on Jan 24.
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However, the bench set aside another notification of the same date for the appointment of new law officers to the extent of those who retained their offices in the political government immediately preceding the last government and headed by Hamza Shehbaz as chief minister.
Ashfaq Ahmad Kharal and other law officers had challenged their removal in addition to the termination of AGP Awais.
The lawyers argued that the caretaker government had no powers to terminate the advocate general. They said a caretaker government could not perform functions of an elected government as it was formed to assist the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold fair and free elections only.
They asked the court to set aside the removal of the advocate general being unlawful.
On behalf of the caretaker government, Advocate Mansoor Usman Awan appeared and argued that the appointment of the advocate general was made by the governor on the advice of the chief minister. He argued that there had to be a relation of trust between the government and its advocate general. He said AG Awais was closely associated with a political party.