–Says was born in Britain, did not seek nationality
–CJP commends Bukhari for donating salary to dams fund
–Top court to review Zulfi Bukhari’s appointment for nepotism
ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfiqar Bukhari on Tuesday submitted his reply in the case pertaining to his appointment and said that the prime minister can appoint whomever he sees fit.
In his reply, Bukhari stated that he is not a member of the parliament, and hence the Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan, which refer to a person’s nationality, cannot be invoked against him for he is not a lawmaker.
He pleaded with the apex court to dismiss the petition on the grounds that he was born in Britain and did not seek a nationality. Adding that his job is to inform Prime Minister Imran Khan on matters pertaining to overseas Pakistanis, he questioned if international organisations could advise the government, then why cannot a dual national. He ended on the note that the prime minister of the country has the right to appoint whomever he sees fit.
COURT TO REVIEW BUKHARI’S APPOINTMENT FOR NEPOTISM:
During the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar said that the court will overlook the matter to see if Bukhari’s appointment as prime minister’s special assistant has been made on merit or if it is an instrument of nepotism.
In October, the top court had admitted the petition after setting aside the objections raised by the registrar’s office. The petition filed by two university graduates, Mirza Moiz Baig and Adil Chattha, raised the issue of Bukhari’s dual nationality and the ongoing National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigation against him for owning offshore companies.
During the hearing, the petitioner requested the court to adjourn hearing till December 15 as his lawyer is out of the country. However, the chief justice proceeded to question Aitzaz Ahsan, Bukhari’s legal counsel and asked him about Bukhari’s entry in the limelight. He speculated that Bukhari came to be known when there was some issue and he went to receive someone.
On that note, the petitioner told the chief justice that the accused came to be known when he met Reham Khan in London, following her divorce with PM Khan. Bukhari’s counsel raised an objection that “divorce is a personal matter” which should not be discussed in the court.
“Bukhari is a promising young man who has performed well in the first 100 days of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government,” he added.
He also told the court that Bukhari has donated all of his salaries to the dams fund. The chief justice was pleased and commended him for the act.
Ahsan continued to defend his client, adding that he was a special advisor to the prime minister and not a parliamentarian. “He also sits on the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) meetings,” he added.
The court, however, commented that the government will face accountability soon for however many appointments it made on merit and those that were based on nepotism.
“We are only trying to figure out the merit in this appointment. The court is not liable to please anyone.”
Referring to the controversy over his comments on nepotism, he asserted that the legal system cannot be changed [for anyone].
He added that the government seemed to overlook that this was a quo warranto case, referring to the unethical exercise of powers to make appointments.
“Nepotism was brought up in the arguments though the petitioner had not explicitly referred to it,” he concluded.