LAHORE - Justice Atir Mahmood of the Lahore High Court yesterday reserved verdict on petitions seeking directions for the government to form a shadow cabinet in Punjab.

Opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmood and the Lawyers’ Foundation for Justice had filed the petitions. The counsels of both petitioners argued in the favour of shadow cabinet, saying that there was no check on corruption and misuse of power in government and semi-government departments.

Public accounts committees were also not working and corruption could not be stopped until and unless the public accounts committees were made functional, they highlighted. Many countries had established shadow cabinet to have check on the system, they added.

The counsels requested the court to order the government to amend the rules of business of the Punjab Assembly and establish shadow cabinet to make public accounts committees functional so that the corruption could be stopped.

Shadow cabinet was helpful in assigning the role to the members of the opposition and keep them close to the day to day functions of the government, the counsels further said and argued that majority rule was considered as the dictatorship of the majority which was against the spirit of parliamentary system. They also said that shadow cabinet also easily hold the minister accountable and keep close check on their activities as well as on the record of every case to avoid corruption. “It is the best way towards accountability and to curb all kinds of corruption.” The matter was also raised in the Punjab Assembly, said Sheraz Zaka who was the counsel of Opposition leader Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, but no amendment was made while opposition being not in assembly could not amend the rules for this purpose.

A law officer on behalf of the government said that shadow cabinet was not needed as the government was performing phenomenally. He claimed the fundamental rights of the citizens were not being affected, pleading the court to dismiss the petitions.