-IHC CJ says neither SAPMs nor their patriotism could be doubted on basis of dual citizenship
By Uzma Zafar
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday set aside a petition seeking removal of all of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aides with dual nationalities.
In the case pertaining to dual citizenship of the special assistants to the prime minister, the IHC remarked in a written judgement that the premier was accountable to the people and could not run the state affairs alone.
“The Federal Government has made the Rules of 1973 and has described the ‘Organization of Divisions’ in rule 4 ibid. Sub rule 6 of rule 4 enables the Prime Minister to appoint Special Assistant or Special Assistants and to determine their status and functions,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah wrote.
“The Rules of 1973, particularly rule 4(6) are not in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution. Special Assistants are not members of the Federal Cabinet. Moreover, they are distinct from Advisors appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister under Article 93(1) of the Constitution.
“The Prime Minister is the chief executive of one of the most important organs of the State and has to perform multiple/complex functions. A person elected as Prime Minister is answerable to the people of Pakistan and the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament). The onerous role of the Prime Minister described under the Constitution cannot be performed by the latter alone,” he added.
The IHC judge went on to say that neither the special assistants to the prime minister nor their patriotism could be doubted based on the fact that they held dual citizenship, the court ruled, and, thus, could not be disqualified either.
“In order to enable the Prime Minister to transact business of the Executive organ of the State, the latter ought to have the freedom to appoint officials or other persons for assistance. Rule 4(6) is one of such modes whereby the Prime Minister has been empowered to appoint Special Assistants. There is no restriction regarding the number of Special Assistants that can be appointed by the Prime Minister,” he added.