ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday observed that the Prime Minister can appoint anyone as his advisor according to the Constitution.

The bench further said that if the premier does not appoint a qualified person, then it is his prerogative. A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah made the observation while hearing a petition challenging the appointment of Shahzad Akbar as Advisor to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior. During the hearing, the petitioner urged the court to declare Akbar’s appointment as null and void. 

In his arguments, the petitioner’s counsel Amanullah Kinrani contended that the appointment of unelected member was against the National Assembly’s rules. At this Justice Athar said that constitutionally, the Prime Minister can appoint anyone as his adviser.

Parliament can hold the PM accountable in this matter

The IHC Chief Justice added that the Prime Minister was accountable to the Parliament. He continued that they need to strengthen the Parliament instead. He made it clear that NAB is an independent body and no one can interfere with its working. After hearing the arguments of the parties, the IHC bench reserved its verdict on the admissibility of the petition.

A lawyer Syed Pervez Zahoor Advocate had filed this petition and cited Prime Minister of Pakistan through Secretary to the PM, Secretary Cabinet Division, Mirza Shahzad Akbar and Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as respondents. The petitioner prayed to the court to declare appointment of Akbar as Chairman Recovery Unit and Advisor on Accountability and conferring upon him the status of the Federal Minister as illegal and ultra vires to the law and the Constitution.

He also requested the court to restrain Akbar from performance of any type of official functions or exercise of any official power under any law, rule or the Constitution or pretend him as the Federal Minister as provided in Articles 91 and 92 of the Constitution of Pakistan.