ISLAMABAD - A writ petition challenging the appointment of 104 law officers as additional attorney generals, deputy attorney generals and assistant attorney generals has been moved before the Islamabad High Court. The petition was moved by Advocate G M Chaudhary and he cited President of Pakistan, Prime Minister, Federation through Secretary Law, Secretary Establishment division, chairman National Accountability Bureau (NBA), attorney general of Pakistan and 104 newly appointed additional attorney generals, deputy attorney generals and assistant attorney generals as respondents.

In his petition, he stated that the government has appointed Respondent Nos. 7 to 110 as the additional attorney generals, deputy attorneys general or assistant attorney general in violation of rules, instructions regarding appointment in public offices as well as principles laid down by the superior court regarding recruitments, selections and appointments through  open competition after advertising posts in newspapers on the basis of open merit, competitiveness, fair-play, equality and through a transparent process as held by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in its different judgments.

He added that there is no doubt that the Respondent Nos. 7 to 110 are required to perform functions and duties of public prosecutors which are a superior tier of public prosecutors who are performing their duties in special courts or in subordinate courts after their selections through respective Public Service Commissions on the basis of their educational qualifications, experience, competence and merit through a formal process of recruitment. The petitioner maintained that these law officers are also performing their functions and duties on behalf of the Federal Government instead of any particular political party and acting as public prosecutors under the provisions of the Central Law Officers Ordinance, 1970 (Ordinance No. VII of 1970) read with relevant Rules made for the purpose and being paid from public exchequer instead of Funds of any particular political party to whom they belonged.

He adopted that different news items flashed in different newspapers, from time to time, regarding differences of different stakeholders for distribution of booty of public offices under the provisions of the Central Law Officers Ordinance, 1970 (Ordinance No. VII of 1970) among the advocates who are political workers or having formal memberships of different political parties including the ruling Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its allies/coalition partners in the National and Provincial Assemblies and governments and a few such news items are attached with the petition for perusal of the court.

Advocate Chaudhary maintained that in the light of news items, it is apparent that these law officials belonged to different political parties and this court may direct to the Respondent No. 2 (Prime Minister) and 3 (Secretary Law) to submit details regarding political affiliations of Respondent No. 6 to 110 as well as the Respondent Nos. 6 to 110 may also be directed to submit duly attested affidavit regarding their affiliation or non-affiliation of any political party and particularly the present ruling parties at the federal and provincial levels.

He contended that these appointments are liable to be set aside, ab initio while recovery of public money paid as salaries, allowances and other perks and privileges, etc., either from the respondent Nos. 6 to 110 as well as from the respondent No. 1 to 3 who had failed to perform their official duties and functions in the public interest.

He argued that the legal fraternity is already divided on different parochial, racial and regional basis and now the respondent No. 1 to 3 has further created a conflict and new solid divide on political party lines and legal professionals or advocates who will be either affiliated or formally members of the political parties in power will be appointed creating permanent political divide among the legal profession which will ultimately enter in the judicial hierarchy as the appointments of the judges of the high court and supreme court are also made from legal profession and it will certainly destroy the constitutional order and system of governance after creation of permanent rifts on the basis of political affiliations.

The petitioner continued that all appointments based on political affiliations or memberships are unconstitutional, illegal, mala fide and arbitrary as well as the outcome of misuse of official power which is a trust in the hands of the Respondent No. 1 to 3.

Therefore, he prayed to the court that the Respondent No. 7 to 110 be directed to show under which authority of the law and the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan they individually are holding the post of additional attorney general, deputy attorney general or assistant attorney general when such posts were not advertised for recruitment and there was a not a merit-based, fair, competitive and transparent process of selection and appointment.

He requested the court that it may declare these appointments as illegal, mala fide, arbitrary, due their political affiliation/influence/membership of the ruling political parties, misuse of discretionary powers by the Respondent Nos. 1 to 3 being in violation of requirement of advertisement as held by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.