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Islamabad High Court stops PML(N) leader Hanif Abbasi from working as SAPM

In the last hearing on May 9, the court had directed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to reconsider Abbasi’s appointment “in case the conviction has not been set aside”.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) today stopped PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi from working as a special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM) until the next hearing on May 27.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the directives while hearing a petition filed by former interior minister and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid. Sheikh Rashid has challenged Hanif Abbasi’s appointment as SAPM on grounds of his 2018 conviction in an ephedrine case.

Abbasi was notified as a SAPM, with the status of federal minister, on April 27. However, he has not been assigned a portfolio yet.

In the last hearing on May 9, the court had directed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to reconsider Abbasi’s appointment “in case the conviction has not been set aside”.

When the hearing resumed today, Justice Minallah observed that a person who has been convicted could not hold public office.

However, Abbasi’s counsel Ahsan Bhoon argued that the office of the SAPM was not similar to other public offices.

When the chief justice said the court would stop Abbasi from working as SAPM till the next date of hearing, Bhoon argued that it would be tantamount to “concrete relief” for the petitioner (Rashid).

However, Justice Minallah said he hoped Abbasi would not use the public office till the next hearing.

“The SAPM’s job is to advise the prime minister, he can do that without a notification as well,” he observed. Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned till May 27.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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