ISLAMABAD: Barrister Shehzad Ata Elahi has denied reports claiming he was asked to step down as attorney general of Pakistan (AGP), following his resignation from the top law office on Friday.
In a statement on Saturday, Elahi, grandson of Fazal Elahi Chaudhry who served as the nation’s president between 1973 and 1978, confirmed his resignation to Dawn but refuted the suggestion that he was asked by the prime minister to step down.
Elahi resigned a little over a month after his appointment and just before a potential legal battle over delayed elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the Supreme Court. The timing of his resignation had raised questions about its potential impact on the case taken up by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
Following the news of Elahi’s departure, Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with legal experts in Model Town to discuss their strategy for the delayed elections. Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and Attaullah Tarar and Malik Ahmad Khan, both special assistants to Sharif, were also present at the meeting. Notably, Elahi was absent.
Elahi told Dawn he had signed the resignation letter on Friday.
“It is absolutely incorrect that I was asked to resign. In fact, when I communicated my intention to resign to senior members of the government, I was requested to defer sending the resignation to the president and at their request, I handed the original resignation over to a senior minister,” he said.
“The government may send it to the president at their convenience.”
He said that “unfortunately some facts were selectively leaked in media yesterday” and while he avoided engaging with the journalists and news-TV stations who contacted him repeatedly, a “distorted narrative is being created which is why I am now constrained to send this clarification”.
Elahi is a corporate lawyer at the prestigious law firm Cornelius, Lane, and Mufti, and boasts a wealth of experience in commercial, tax and banking law, as well as civil, commercial, corporate, and constitutional litigation.
The circumstances surrounding his resignation and its impact on the upcoming legal battle remain to be seen.