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IHC temporarily bars Hanif Abbasi from working as SAPM

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarks that a convicted person cannot hold public office

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday barred Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Hanif Abbasi from working as a special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM) till the subsequent hearing on May 27.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah delivered the directives as he heard a plea filed by former interior minister and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid. Rashid has challenged Abbasi’s appointment because of his 2018 conviction in the ephedrine case.

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Abbasi was notified as a special assistant, on April 27. However, he has not been given a portfolio as of yet.

In the previous hearing on May 9, the court had given directions to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to rethink Abbasi’s appointment “in the event the conviction has not been set aside”.

During today’s hearing, Justice Minallah made the observation that a convicted could not hold public office.

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However, Abbasi’s counsel Ahsan Bhoon contended that the SAPM’s office was different than other public offices.

Bhoon argued that the IHC would be equivalent to “concrete relief” for the petitioner.

Justice Minallah observed that the special assistant’s job was to advise the prime minister which he could do without a notification as well.

Afterwards, the hearing was adjourned till May 27.

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