ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court rejected on Friday an appeal filed against the appointment of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistants and advisers.A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, was to hear the case. However, a two-judge bench heard it after Justice Munib Akhtar excused himself.
The top court upheld the Islamabad High Court’s earlier decision on the appointment of special assistants and the appeal was dismissed.The reasons for dismissal of the appeal will be given in the court’s verdict, the chief justice said.The rules have been laid down in the case of Special Assistant to the PM for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari, said Justice Ijazul Ahsan.
In the Zulfi Bukhari case, the SC ruled that dual nationals could be special assistants, said Justice Ahsan.The petitioner’s lawyer, Ikram Chaudhry, argued that his client’s case is not over dual nationalities.The government has an army of advisers and assistants, the lawyer said.It was also decided in the decision that the Prime Minister can have special assistants, Justice Ahsan said.The Prime Minister can appoint assistants for his assistance, CJP Ahmed said.
In July this year, IHC rejected a petition against the appointment of dual nationals as special assistants by Prime Minister Imran Khan. IHC had ruled that the “patriotism of Pakistani citizens holding dual nationality cannot be doubted”.The IHC remarked in a written judgement that the premier was accountable to the people and could not run the state affairs alone.
“The Federal Government has made the Rules of 1973 and has described the ‘Organization of Divisions’ in rule 4 ibid. Sub rule 6 of rule 4 enables the Prime Minister to appoint Special Assistant or Special Assistants and to determine their status and functions,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah wrote.”The Rules of 1973, particularly rule 4(6) are not in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution.
Special Assistants are not members of the Federal Cabinet. Moreover, they are distinct from Advisors appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister under Article 93(1) of the Constitution.”The Prime Minister is the chief executive of one of the most important organs of the State and has to perform multiple/complex functions.
A person elected as Prime Minister is answerable to the people of Pakistan and the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament). The onerous role of the Prime Minister described under the Constitution cannot be performed by the latter alone,” he added.
The IHC judge went on to say that neither the special assistants to the prime minister nor their patriotism could be doubted based on the fact that they held dual citizenship, the court ruled, and, thus, could not be disqualified either.
Their appointments were the premier’s prerogative, it said, adding further that there was no restriction on the number of SAPMs the PM could appoint.