LAHORE: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has issued a notification pertaining to the separation of the Law Ministry and the Attorney General’s (AG) office.
The separation was created by amending the Rules of Business 1973.
Responsibilities pertaining to international arbitrations and disputes would now fall under the new division’s purview.
Moreover, A Basic Pay Scale (BPS) grade 21 or 22 officer would permanently be appointed to the division and the officer would be charged with the responsibility to act as a liaison between the AG office and different ministries and divisions.
While speaking to Pakistan Today, legal expert and lawyer Salman Akram Raja said, “The AG office has a dual capacity, he assists the courts and also represents the government.”
“The AG is the principal law officer and also has the right to speak to the parliament,” Raja added.
Legal Expert and Lawyer Saad Rasool explained to Pakistan Today, “This is a wise move by the PM.”
“The decision has two-fold consequences and the first is that while being part of the Law Ministry, the AG used to end up defending all actions, moves and ordinances of the government,” he added.
Rasool further said, “That should not be the case because the AG is the first officer of the court and has the right of the first audience in court and by that virtue he should only defend constitutional acts.”
The law expert also said, “The AG should call out unconstitutional acts of the government.”
“I hope that the government continues to consult the AG and take his invaluable advice,” Rasool added further.
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Kaleem Ahmed Khursheed told Pakistan Today, “The AG should be allowed to work independently and this is a positive move by the government.”
High Court Advocate and legal expert Mohammad Shoaib Rashid, while speaking to Pakistan Today, said, “The AG’s independence was compromised before but now his constitutional mandate has been granted.”
Rashid also said, “The AG is the first law officer and can prosecute members of the government if the court initiates proceedings against them.”