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LHC upholds sacking of 97 law officers appointed during PTI tenure

LAHORE: A five-member larger bench of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday upheld Punjab caretaker government’s decision of sacking 97 law officers appointed during tenure of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

The court also declared removal of Advocate General Punjab Ahmad Awais by caretaker setup as legal. The court declared re-appointment of 19 law officers recruited during Hamza Shehbaz government as null and void.

However, the Lahore High Court ruled that 36 law officers appointed during caretaker government will keep working on their posts. The five-member larger bench of LHC was headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and also comprised Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, Justice Shahid Karim, Justice Asim Hafeez and Justice Anwaar Hussain.

Justice Asim Hafeez wrote a contradictory note against the decision. The Lahore High Court (LHC) on February 2 had suspended an order of the caretaker government in Punjab about removal of 97 law officers appointed during the tenure of the PTI government.

LHC Justice Shahid Karim had issued the order and directed all law officers to resume their jobs and appear before courts. Expressing resentment over non-appearance of the law officers, he said judiciary was unable to work for four days. No one cares about the people whose cases are pending in courts, he remarked.

The secretary law had barred the 97 law officers, including 32 additional and 65 assistant advocate generals, appointed by the PTI government from working after the approval of the interim cabinet. Earlier, the Lahore High Court had suspended a notification issued by the provincial government to remove Advocate General Punjab (AGP) Ahmad Awais and reinstated him to his office.

The LHC issued ruling on a petition filed by Mr Awais arguing that the caretaker government had no powers to remove him since it was not an elected setup. He said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had appointed the interim government to hold elections only in the province.

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