The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday rejected a plea seeking removal of Advisor to Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah announced the erstwhile reserved verdict, issuing a nine-page written judgment.
“No material was presented on the record that Shahzad Akbar was interfering in the affairs of National Accountability Bureau (NAB),” the verdict stated. “There is nothing on record that the rights of the petitioner are being affected by any action of Shahzad Akbar.”
The verdict upheld that the prime minister may send a request to appoint five advisers to the president.
“The appointment of an advisor under Article 93 is at the discretion of the prime minister,” the judgment maintained. “No explanation was given regarding the qualification criteria of the advisor.”
Declaring the petition to remove Akbar as PM’s aid inadmissible, the court remarked that the matter of Akbar being the Chairman of the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) cannot be looked into as a detailed verdict of the Supreme Court is awaited.
However, IHC barred Akbar from interfering in the operations of NAB or the Federal investigation Agency (FIA) as an adviser.
“The adviser has no authority to issue any direct or indirect directions to the NAB,” the court remarked. “The adviser also has no authority to directly or indirectly interfere with the FIA’s authority. Any interference in the NAB or FIA will fall into the category of misuse of the advisor’s office.”
The court added that under Rule 55/4, ministers, secretaries or nominated officers may act as official spokespersons of the government.
On August 25, the IHC remarked that the country’s prime minister can appoint anyone as his advisor according to the constitution. However, if the premier does not appoint a qualified person, then that is his discretion.
During the proceedings, Lawyer Amanullah Kanrani, on behalf of petitioner Pervez Zahoor, while quoting the decision of the Sindh High Court (SHC), argued that accountability under the Rules of Business is an independent procedure and is not subordinate to anyone.
“Shahzad Akbar is a member of the federal cabinet. Having unelected representatives is also against the constitution and the rules of the National Assembly,” the counsel prayed.
To this, Justice Minallah said that that IHC had declared that Shahzad Akbar is not a member of the federal government and he cannot be part of the federal cabinet.