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Featured IHC dismisses plea against dual national SAPMs

Discussion in 'Insaf - Justice' started by ghazi52, Jul 31, 2020.

  1. ghazi52


    Mar 21, 2007
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    IHC dismisses plea against dual national SAPMs

    Justice Minallah also says law allowing PM to appoint special assistants not in violation of constitution

    Saqib Bashir
    July 30, 2020


    ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition against the appointment of individuals with dual citizenship as special assistants to the prime minister declaring it non-maintainable.

    The petitioner, Justice Party Chairman Malik Munsif Awan, had pleaded that the appointment of four SAPMs, who were dual nationals, be declared null and void as somebody who owed their allegiance to another country should not be holding key government positions and making decisions about the country.

    He had further contended that rule 4(6) of the Rules of 1973, which allows the appointment of special assistants to the PM with status and functions determined by the premier, was in violation of the constitution.

    In his judgment, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah held that that there was no restriction of appointing persons with dual nationality as special assistants.

    “The only restriction provided in the Constitution is under Article 63(1)(c) and it is confined to disqualification of a person from “being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament),” the verdict read.

    “This disqualification is also attracted in case of the membership of the provincial assembly. There are some statutes, which prescribe renunciation of nationality of another state as an eligibility condition for employment. There is no such restriction for appointment of a special assistant under rule 4(6) of the Rules of 1973.”

    The judge further noted that that the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951 expressly allowed a citizen of Pakistan to hold dual nationality as has been described in section 14(3).

    “It is not fair to raise doubts or to be skeptical regarding appointment of a dual national as a special assistant by the prime minister. The importance and contributions made by dual nationals cannot be denied. The patriotism of Pakistani citizens holding dual nationality cannot be doubted,” the judgment read.
    The IHC chief justice noted that the Supreme Court had acknowledged the contributions of overseas Pakistanis in numerous judgments.

    He added that the patriotism of a person who was a citizen of Pakistan could be doubted nor suspected unless the State could demonstrably and without a shadow of doubt establish otherwise.

    “A person who holds dual nationality is indeed a citizen of Pakistan and thus his or her commitment to Pakistan and patriotism cannot be doubted. A Pakistani citizen holding dual nationality is thus not ineligible or barred from being appointed by the prime minister as a special assistant under rule 4(6) of the Rules of 1973,”
    Justice Athar Minallah further observed that interference by the court would adversely affect the transaction of business of the federal government and prevent the prime minister from discharging obligations under the constitution thus warranting restraint.

    The IHC chief justice noted that Rules of 1973 were made and duly notified by the federal government in exercise of powers vested under Articles 90 and 99 of the constitution.

    He added that Sub Article 3 of Article 99 empowered the federal government to make rules for the allocation and transaction of its business. “It is pursuant to the said powers that the federal government has made the Rules of 1973 and has described the ‘Organisation of Divisions’ in rule 4. Sub rule 6 of rule 4 enables the prime minister to appoint special assistant or special assistants and to determine their status and functions.”

    The judge held that 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 advisers appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister under Article 93(1) of the Constitution,” the verdict read.

    Justice Athar Minallah noted that the prime minister was the chief executive of one of the most important organs of the State and had 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. In order to enable the prime minister to transact business of the executive organ of the State, the latter ought to have the freedom to appoint officials or other persons for assistance,” the judge wrote in his judgment.

    “Rule 4(6) is one of such modes whereby the prime minister has been empowered to appoint special assistants. There is no restriction regarding the number of special assistants that can be appointed by the prime minister.”
    The judge declared that for these reasons the petition was devoid of merits and thus dismissed.