ISLAMABAD - The federation Monday sought time from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to submit reply in a writ petition challenging the appointments of fifteen special assistants to Prime Minister Imran Khan. A division bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Lubna Salim Pervez conducted hearing of the petition and granted time to federation to submit its reply by accepting its plea.

The IHC bench also re-issued notices to the respondents and directed them to submit their replies in this connection within a fortnight. Farrukh Nawaz Bhatti filed the petition through his counsel G M Chaudhary Advocate and cited prime minister and fifteen special assistants including the names of Naeemul Haq, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Nadeem Afzal, Ali Nawaz Awan, Zulfi Bukhari, Shahzad Akbar, Dr Moeed Yusuf, Usman Dar and others as respondents.

In the petition, Bhatti sought declaration of sub-rule (6) of Rule 4 of the Rules of Business, 1973, as ultra vires to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, illegal and the appointments of the respondent No: 3 to 18 in exercise of the said rule as unconstitutional, illegal, a burden on debt-trapped national economy, having unconstitutional, ultra vires and illegal status as the federal ministers and ministers of the state, as the case may, misuse of public office and discretion only to accommodate friends and cronies on public expense without having specialization in the relevant fields to be known or said as Special Assistants to the Prime Minister (SAPM), a few having dual nationalities and being as such not entitled to hold offices or status as the Federal Minister or the Minister of the State.

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“All such appointments are liable to be set aside ab initio from their dates of appointment with a further direction to declare the actions, decisions or exercise of any power under any law as well as receipt of any financial benefit including their salaries, allowances, perks, privileges, etc., as illegal, void ab initio, coram non judice and illegal gain and direct for recovery of such salaries, allowances, perks, privileges, etc., from the Respondent No. 3 to 18,” maintained the petition.

It further said that as far as their competence and expertise in their respective areas allocated to them is questionable as there is no any noteworthy and substantial contribution of them towards the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its governance system except they had enjoyed the friendly relations or managed their appointments by using undue influence and receiving hefty salaries, allowances, perks and privileges.

“That even the respondent No. 11 (Moeed Yusuf) was staying since long in the United State of America (USA) and working for different Think Tanks and his loyalty and obedience towards the Constitution is not certain as it is apprehended that such persons are a threat to national security as such persons has to return to their original positions and countries like Hussain Haqqani with all state secrets with further apprehension of Memo Gate like situation for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” maintained the petitioner.

Therefore, he prayed to the court it may declare the Rule 4(6) of the Rules of Business, 1973, is ultra vires to the constitution and the law, illegal, coram non judice and being such is liable to be set aside ab initio and be set aside in the interest of constitutionalism in the country.

Bhatti also requested the court to declare the appointments of the Respondent No: 3 to 18 and conferring upon them the status of the ministers of the state and the federal ministers (as the case may be) as illegal, ultra vires to the law and the Constitution.

He continued that the court may declare the actions, decisions or exercise of any power under any law as well as receipt of any financial benefit including their salaries, allowances, perks, privileges, etc., as illegal, void ab initio and illegal gain and direct for recovery of such salaries, allowances, perks, privileges, etc., from the respondent No: 3 to 18 as the arrears of land revenue.

The petitioner also requested the court to direct the respondent No: 19 (National Accountability Bureau) to investigate and inquire the acts of the respondent No: 1 to 18 in terms of section 9 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 or any other law relevant on the subject of misuse of power and discretion.