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IHC directs PM Shehbaz to review Hanif Abbasi’s appointment as SAPM


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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to review the appointment of PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi as a special assistant to the prime minister.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition of former interior minister Sheikh Rashid against the appointment of Hanif Abbasi as a SAPM, with the former interior minister appearing before the court on Monday.

The development comes days after the newly appointed SAPM announced a reward of Rs50,000 to anyone who brought him Rashid’s wig, a statement over which PPP Secretary-General Farhatullah Babar had expressed concern.

The IHC CJ summoned Rashid to the rostrum and regretted the accusations made against courts at public gatherings. “Do you and your ally PTI have confidence in the Islamabad High Court?” the IHC CJ asked.

“Maybe PTI does not trust the court. Political statements are made at rallies questioning why courts opened at night. It is said that the courts open at the behest of someone,” he said.

“If Imran Khan does not trust the IHC, I apologise as the CJ and will send the case over to another court,” said IHC CJ Minallah, adding that there are other courts and judges who can hear his cases as it is important to have trust in the court.

Justice Minallah said important and big cases are pending in the high court like the cases of missing persons and Baloch students. “Sheikh sb, these courts are for everyone,” he said, to which Rasheed replied, “right sir”.

Rashid said he has approached the court because he has trust in it, to which Justice Minallah said that the court will hear his petition if he has faith in it.

The IHC CJ again referred to statements made at political rallies, pointing out that it was said [at the rallies] that the courts are not independent.

“Your lawyers must have told you that there are rules and the chief justice can take up a case at any time,” he told Rashid.

Later, the court issued notices to the federation through the Cabinet division secretary and Hanif Abbasi on the plea against his appointment as the SAPM.

The hearing was adjourned till May 17.

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