LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Monday dismissed petitions seeking establishment of a shadow cabinet to eliminate the menace of corruption from the country.

Justice Atir Mahmood announced the verdict he had reserved on March 7, holding that although courts can direct the government to make amendment in law but cannot direct the legislature to make amendment in the Constitution which is the sole prerogative of the Parliament regarding formation of shadow cabinet at both provincial and federal level, because there are no fundamental rights of citizens being affected.

AK Dogar of Lawyers’ Foundation for Justice and Opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed had moved the petitions submitting that establishment of shadow cabinet was inevitable in the current political system to have check on the working of the government. The both petitioners emphasized that shadow cabinet is practiced in all those countries where there were parliamentary system of governance.

AK Dogar argued that the system of shadow cabinet made the roles of opposition really effective and they were not cut out from the day-to-day governmental functions. He asserted that the parties in opposition were rendered helpless they had not share in power; the majority rule was converted into dictatorship of the majority.

AK Dogar pointed out that the British parliamentary system was mother of all parliamentary government of the world and it had shadow cabinet and this format had been followed by a number of countries run with parliamentary system including Canada and Japan. He said that the shadow cabinet system was very useful as it could scrutinize and examine all the activities of the ministries and had full access to the record of every case. He said the system of shadow cabinet was the first step towards the accountability and all kinds of corruption will be promptly curbed at the first stage. He said that the government had the power to create a shadow cabinet.

He requested to direct federal and provincial governments to act upon constitutional requirements of cabinet system and direct opposition leader to appoint shadow cabinet and assign functions to establish system of checks to eradicate corruption and miss-governance. Sheraz Zaka, the counsel of Rasheed, argued that there should be a shadow cabinet, as it would enhance accountability and transparency. He said that Punjab was a big province and single opposition leader could not keep checks and balances on the government. He pointed out that the Constitution had salient features which include also justice and fair play principles and by relying on such principles there must be a shadow cabinet.

He said that although there is no explicit provision of shadow cabinet but the court can direct to legislate on such public importance issues. The petitioners prayed the court to order the government to establish Shadow cabinet.


The LHC directed parties to come up with more arguments in a petition filed by PPP leader and ex-MPA Shaukat Mahmood Basra seeking state protection/security due to serious threats to his life.

Advocate Sardar Khurram Latif Khosa, the counsel of the petitioner, submitted that suspects involved in a recent life attempts made on Mr. Basra in Haroonabad on February 6 were being provided full leverage and had also been extending threats to his client and his family.  He also alleged that the PML-N government had hatched a conspiracy to kill Basra.

He prayed the court to order the police authority to provide the protection to Mr. Basra and his family with adequate security to ensure their fundamental right of being protected. However, Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali sought more arguments from the parties.