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Hanif Abbasi stopped from working as SAPM to Shehbaz Sharif

In today's hearing, Justice Minallah observed that a person who has been convicted could not hold public office. Therefore, Hanif Abbasi has been temporarily stopped by IHC from performing his duties as SAPM.

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Tuesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) temporarily stopped PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi from performing his duties as special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM).

The IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the directives while hearing former interior minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed’s petition, challenging Abbasi’s appointment as SAPM.

According to the petition by Sheikh Rasheed, “a person with a criminal conviction, particularly a conviction for dealing in narcotics which is an offence involving ‘moral turpitude’ is unsuitable to hold such a position. To clarify, Sheikh Rasheed was referring to Hanif Abbasi’s conviction in the 2018 ephedrine case.

In 2018, the Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) court handed life imprisonment to Hanif Abbasi in the case. Judge Sardar Muhammad Akram pronounced the judgment, saying Abbasi was guilty of selling 500kg ephedrine illegally to narcotics smugglers. He also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on the PML-N leader.

Read more: Supreme Court straight-shooting at Hanif Abbasi!

In today’s hearing, 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.

“The SAPM’s job is to advise the prime minister, he can do that without a notification as well,” Justice Minallah observed.

Shehbaz Sharif’s federal cabinet

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has received immense criticism for his appointments in the federal cabinet. PTI leaders had a lot to say about the new federal ministers.

Taking to Twitter, former Minister for Maritime Affairs, Ali Haider Zaidi highlighted the corruption charges against the new federal ministers. For instance, Shazia Marri presented a fake degree while participating in NA 235 elections. Now, Shazi Marri holds the portfolio of Benazir Income Support Programme. Ali Haider Zaidi also named more ministers who are either on a bail or have cases lodged against them.

“100% PML-N cabinet members on bail! Welcome to Purana Pakistan,” Ali Haider Zaidi tweeted.

Similarly, former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry too mocked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s cabinet. Owing to the corruption charges against the federal ministers, Fawad Chaudhry said the list of the new cabinet members looks like an attendance sheet for the Central Jail.