IHC summons AGP in Punjab governor’s removal case

ISLAMABAD, May 24 (APP): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday summoned Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) on Wednesday for assistance in a case challenging the notification regarding removal of Umar Sarfraz Cheema as Punjab governor.

A larger bench headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah and comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kayani heard the petition filed by Umar Cheema.

Petitioner’s lawyer Dr Baber Awan argued that his client was appointed as Punjab governor by the president in March 2022. However, the prime minister recommended for removing him from the office on May 1, 2022.

He said a governor was used to be appointed on the recommendation of the prime minister, but he was answerable to the president.

The chief justice asked whether a time period was mentioned in the governor’s appointment and whether he would be a representative of the president or the federation in the certain province.

The lawyer answered that no time period was mentioned in the notification. He adopted the stance that the governor was a representative of the president who used to run the state.

Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that the lawyer wanted to say that the president used to run the provinces. He, however, remarked that provinces had been given autonomy under 18th Amendment in Constitution.

The court asked whether the president could retain a governor on the post against the will of Federation.

Baber Awan replied that the governor and AGP offices came under the control of president. The governor could submit resignation to the president, while the cabinet was not authorized to accept the resignation.

He said there were no rules of business for presidency. The president used to only approve the expenditures of governors while the salaries and incentives of chief ministers were settled by the Federation.

The chief justice it would be strange if the prime minister gave an advice for appointment of governor but he had not powers to remove him.

Baber Awan said only the president had discretionary powers to remove a governor from the office.

The chief justice remarked that many powers of the president had been curtailed with the removal of 58(2)b. It was a constitutional issue and the court wanted to hear the AGP on the matter as well.

The court summoned the AGP for assistance and adjourned the case till Wednesday.