- Onerous task of clearing the legal mess
Coming within days of his appointment as the new Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP), Barrister Khalid Javed Khan’s remarks would be widely welcomed by all who stand for good governance and rule of law. He has made it clear that he would not plead the government’s case against Mr Justice Faez Isa on account of conflict of interest. He has defined the AGP’s sphere clearly and emphasized its autonomy. This implies that he would not allow anyone, particularly the Law Ministry, to try to step into his turf. He seems to be bent upon letting none under him bend the rules or bypass legal procedures. He has also vowed to make the rule of law, the supremacy of the Constitution and the independence of judiciary his top priorities.
The Law Ministry under the PTI is highly politicized and does not hesitate to take recourse to questionable means to achieve its desired ends. The way material was collected by the Law Ministry to get Mr Justice Faez Isa sentenced involved cloak and dagger activities. If the former AGP is to be believed, he was used by the Law Ministry luminaries to embarrass the Supreme Court only to be turned into a fall guy after the attempt misfired. The fancy footwork undertaken by the Law Ministry to rescue former military ruler Musharraf from the clutches of law included denotifying the original prosecution team and then taking recourse to delaying the trial and then the announcement of verdict by the special court.
The mission undertaken by Barrister Khan is by no means a walk in the park. Appearing to be an Independent-minded person who also happens to be a stickler for legal and constitutional accuracy, the new AGP is bound to ruffle many feathers. Those trained to achieve desired objectives by all means, whether straight or devious, are likely to be up against him. Attempts are already afoot to appoint pliable law officers without his consent. The new AGP has however resisted the move firmly. His demand for complete autonomy for his office is the first step in the right direction. All who stand for strong and politically neutral institutions would wish him Godspeed in his quest for the Holy Grail.