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IHC orders PM Shahbaz Sharif to consider nomination of Hanif Abbasi as SAPM

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday ordered Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to reconsider Hanif Abbasi’s appointment as his special assistant.

The IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the order on a petition submitted by the head of the Awami Muslim League and former ex-interior minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, challenging the appointment of PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi as SAPM.

The development comes a few days after the newly appointed SAPM announced a reward of Rs50,00 to whoever brought him Rashid’s wig. PPP Secretary General Farhatullah Babar expressed concern about the statement.

At the outset of today’s hearing, Justice Athar Minallah called Sheikh Rasheed to the rostrum and expressed his displeasure at the allegations made against the courts at public rallies [by PTI leadership].

He said, “Political statements are made that the courts are opened on someone’s directions.” It is said in public meetings on a daily basis why courts open at midnight, he observed.

Justice Minallah said that the courts are open to everyone and told the former minister not to undermine people’s faith in the judiciary through political statements.

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He was asked by the Chief Justice of the IHC to ask Imran Khan if he does not trust the judicial system. “I’m going to apologize for hearing your cases and referring them to other judges.”

In issuing notices to the federation through the division of the Secretary’s Office and Hanif Abbasi in the matter, Justice Minallah made the following observation: “Justice must be done and it must also be perceived as done.”

“It is said in public rallies that the courts are not independent, the judge observed and noticed that PTI might not have confidence in the courts.

In 2014, a court ordered the release of PTI workers arrested at 11 pm, said Justice Minallah, responding to the party’s allegations.

According to the rules, the courts can take any case at any time, he said. Justice Minallah, however, dismissed the plea to prevent Hanif Abbasi, who was found guilty in the ephedrine quota case, from working as SAPM right away.

In the meantime, the hearing was adjourned to May 17.

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