Awan to keep working as AGP


ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has asked Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan to continue his work during the rule of the interim government.

Awan was appointed when the PML-N led government came into power in April 2022.

Currently he is defending in the Supreme Court the court-martial of May 9 rioters. He is also defending various pieces of legislation including the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act, 2023 that were introduced by the outgoing government and were challenged in the apex court.

It is learnt that all stakeholders including members of the superior judiciary are comfortable with Awan.

The AGP plays the role of a bridge between the government and the judiciary on critical matters.

In view of the sensitivity of the job, the government of the day appoints a legal expert to the post who enjoys the trust of all stakeholders. Sometimes the government informally discusses with the head of the judiciary before appointing the AGP.

As Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial’s retirement approaches next month, influential circles are strategizing for the future of the superior judiciary, taking into consideration the incoming CJP, Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

According to sources, different names are under consideration for the coveted position of caretaker law minister. They said Ahsan Bhoon and Ahmad Irfan Aslam are the favorites.

Ahsan Bhoon is a senior leader of the Independent Lawyers Group, which played an important role in the ouster of the PTI government in April last year. The same group has a majority in the Pakistan Bar Council, the apex regulatory body of lawyers as well as provincial bar councils.

Ahmad Irfan led the International Disputes Unit within the office of the AGP. His pivotal contribution was instrumental in facilitating Pakistan’s successful resolution of the Karkey and Reko Diq cases through out-of-court settlements. International arbitrators had imposed fines to the tune of billions of dollars in these cases.

A senior official confirmed that both the names are under consideration but added that “nothing is final”.  He said the Independent Lawyers Group will try to get its man appointed as the law minister.

Both the AGP and the law minister are the members of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP). One seat is vacant in the apex court but CJP Bandial could not get a majority in the JCP to appoint a person nominated by him.

The current AGP as well as the caretaker law minister are likely to support next CJP Qazi Faez Isa’s pick for the vacant position of a judge at the apex court

Some senior lawyers said in case the state institutions tried to delay the general elections then it would be a big challenge for the AGP to defend that decision in the apex court led by Justice Isa.

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