Home News Analysis Zulfi Bukhari case: “PM is not all powerful”

Zulfi Bukhari case: “PM is not all powerful”

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The Chief Justice of Pakistan Misan Saqib Nisar has made it clear on Friday that the Prime Minister is not all-powerful to make some important decisions. The court was hearing a petition pertaining to Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari’s appointment as prime minister’s special assistant on overseas Pakistanis and human resource development. CJP Nisar maintained that nepotism is absolutely not acceptable.

The top judge who was hearing the case at Lahore Registry of the SC grilled Mr. Bukhari saying “you should leave your arrogance at home. You may be someone’s friend but you are not a friend of the court.” He was referring to the known friendship of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Zulfi Bukhari.

The then-Interior Minister Azam Khan said that he was told that Bukhari had “vowed to return [to Pakistan]” after which he had allowed the latter to leave the country for six days.

CJP Nisar also asked about the qualification of Mr. Bukhari for the post of Special Assistant to the PM. This post is better suited for an individual holding dual nationality, as a United Kingdom visa provides the person with mobility to run affairs smoothly,” Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for Mr. Bukhari, argued.

Moreover, Mr. Zulfi also said that he deserved to hold this post. “I have excellent relations with overseas Pakistanis and I am among the top 100 Muslims in the UK,” he claimed. “I am also a property developer in the UK and I have access to overseas Pakistanis so I can bring business to Pakistan. People know me,” he asserted, responding to questions pertaining to his profession.

Read more: SC issues notice to PM Khan in petition seeking Zulfi Bukhari’s…

It is worth mentioning here that a petition was filed by Adil Chatta in the SC to challenge the appointment of Zulfi Bukhari as PM’s Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.

The petition prayed that if a dual national can’t be a member of the parliament, he/she should not be made PM’s special assistant. Zulfi Bukhari should not be allowed to work as a special assistant and his appointment be declared null and void as he is a dual national. Moreover, the petition stated that he (ZB) is currently under investigation by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

It further states that such an appointment “paves the way for dual-citizens and those guilty of inter-alia, misdeclaration of assets and contempt of court to be entrusted with decisions that determine the fate of the country”.

The first objection is based on recent cases where the Supreme Court has dismissed some officials on the basis of dual nationality.

Zulfi Bukhari is a close aide to the PM Khan. But he came under limelight when his name was placed in the blacklist. According to details, Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, a businessman and British national, was informed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on June 11 when he was about to leave for performing Umrah along with his friend PM Imran Khan that his name was on the blacklist.

Bukhari was stopped at the airport for almost three hours, according to media reports. But later on, the Interior Ministry directed the authorities to let Bukhari go for performing Umrah. The then-Interior Minister Azam Khan said that he was told that Bukhari had “vowed to return [to Pakistan]” after which he had allowed the latter to leave the country for six days.

Azam also told to the Senate Standing Committee for Interior that the interior secretary had handed him a file and told him that a man named Zulfi Bukhari, who is on the “blacklist”, was stopped from leaving for Umrah with Imran. Bukhari had requested that his name be taken off the blacklist and asked for a “one-time permission” to travel abroad.

Read more: Is Zulfi Bukhari’s appointment Illegal?

Later on, PM Khan was blamed for calling someone to take Zulfi’s name out of the list. In an interview with a local TV channel, Mr. Khan openly challenged to prove if he called any person for Bukhari or anyone else. Imran Khan made it clear that he did not call to the interior ministry to get Zulfi Bukhari’s name out of the blacklist.

PM Khan had to face criticism after the appointment of Mr. Zulfi. For some analysts in Pakistan, PM’s opponents did not find anything else to bash at Khan, therefore, the PM is being criticized for the appointment of a friend as his special assistant. Journalist and blogger Umaima Ahmed say that “This is a test case for [PM] Khan to show where he actually stands but then it also depends how far the case on Zulfi Bukhari holds value? Because this was raised in the interim government and at a time they wanted to create trouble for IK so he loses credibility during elections.”

The SC is yet to decide the case against Mr. Bukhari but there is no denying of the fact that the criticism against him is politically motivated.

Moreover, Ahmed Ali Naqvi, Lecturer in Political Science at PU, spoke to GVS and highlighted two interesting points with regard to the ongoing case against Mr. Zulfi Bukhari. “There are two objections to Mr. Bukhari’s appointment: one, he is dual national and secondly, he is under investigation by National Accountability Bureau. The first objection is based on recent cases where the Supreme Court has dismissed some officials on the basis of dual nationality.

However, those who raise the objection fail to understand that his dual nationality is an added qualification for appointment as Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis.” While commenting on ongoing inquiry against Mr. Bukhari, Mr. Naqvi says that “on NAB, we must acknowledge that in Pakistan’s political system, there have been politically motivated cases in the past. Mere allegation, in Pakistan’s case, doesn’t warrant somebody to be ineligible for public office.”

Read more: Can dual nationals hold public offices in Pakistan?

The SC is yet to decide the case against Mr. Bukhari but there is no denying of the fact that the criticism against him is politically motivated.


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