LAHORE - The Lahore High Court Friday suspended a notification of Punjab interim government regarding removal of ten law officers and reinstated them to their previous positions.

Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi passed the order on petition moved by ten assistant advocate generals against their termination by the interim government. 

The law officers who have been reinstated include Barrister Asjad Saeed, Amar Sanaullah, Tariq Mahmood Butt, Ahmad Hassan Rana, Muhammad Tariq Nadeem, Barrister Bushra Saqib, Asif Afzal Bhatti, Chaudhry Jawad Yaqub, Khalid Masood Ghani and Barrister Ameer Abbas Ali Khan.

Former government appointed them on May 26 and May 30, however, the interim government removed them, saying that they were appointed in derogation of ECP ban.

During the proceeding, a senior law officer appeared in the court and defended the government’s notification regarding removal of the recently hired law officers.

Advocates Shahzad Shaukat and Khalid Ishaq represented the petitioners/law officers and questioned their removal by the . They  argued the caretaker government, under Election Rules 2017, could not terminate the law officers.

They said it could only transfer or shuffle public officials, if considered expedient, after the approval of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

They argued that the process of the petitioners’ appointment was started in 2016 and they were selected through a proper channel.

The counsels said they had been appointed for a probation period  of six months and they were to be regularized in light of their performance. However, the interim government by removing them acted beyond its jurisdiction, the contended.

They said the caretaker government’s first and most important mandate was to ensure the fair and free election.  Their removal, they said, was against the law and powers of the caretaker government. They prayed the court to set aside the impugned notification of their termination.