LAHORE - The Punjab government appointed Asma Hamid as Advocate General Punjab here on Monday.

Asma Hamid is the first woman who has been appointed as the principal law officer of Punjab—a constitutional post. She is the daughter of former Punjab governor Shahid Hamid and niece of former federal law minister Zahid Hamid.

Her appointment has been made on the occasion when the constitutional term of the provincial government is going to end on May 31st. 

The convention is that every interim government appoints AGP of its own choice, perhaps, it was the reason that Shakil-ur-Rehman Khan resigned as Advocate General Punjab on Saturday and called on the Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a farewell gathering held at Model Town office on Monday evening.

The post of Advocate General Punjab is a constitutional post and a person who is competent to be appointed as a judge of the high court is appointed Advocate General for the province. Under Article 193 of the Constitution, a person could not be appointed a judge of the high court if he is not 45 years of age and lacks ten years of “active practice”.

Asma was appointed as assistant AG in January 2014 and later elevated as additional AG on Feb 18, 2015.  She got an LL.B degree from the University of Punjab and an LLM in Constitutional Law from Harvard Law School, USA. She was born on May 21, 1973 and just eight days ago on May 21 she turned 45—the  prescribed age limit to hold the post of Advocate General Punjab.

Shakilur Rehman Khan, son of former SC Judge Khalil ur Rehman Khan, resigned as Advocate General Punjab on Saturday.

It is second time that Asma has been chosen for the post of Advocate General Punjab as two years ago in January, 2016; she was notified to represent the office of the principal law officer in meetings with the chief minister or any other department.

“I just say that ‘ten-year active practice’ is mandatory for a person who is appointed Advocate General Punjab,”  a law officer seeking anonymity commented on her appointment. “Do you know what does mean by “active practice?” he raised a question.  

Another law officer who also wished not be named said that “I simply wonder that how fast her summary was prepared and then forwarded to the authorities concerned for her approval,”.

Ms Asma Hamid was contacted again and again regarding the development about her appointment as Advocate General Punjab but she was not available for comments.

Advocate General of Punjab office is alleged to have been filled with the political appointments and recently a petition was moved to the Lahore High Court challenging the alleged political appointment of lawyers as law officers.