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Attorney general wants to quit

Ansar Abbasi
Thursday, Jan 20, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan has conveyed to Prime Minister Imran Khan that he would like to quit his job next month.

Informed sources told The News that Khalid Javed, who was appointed as the attorney general by the prime minister in February 2020, is not keen to continue beyond two years. He has requested the premier to relieve him from his present assignment in February 2022.

However, the premier is keen on continuing with Khalid Javed, who enjoys agood reputation and is considered a mature and sane voice among all the key legal minds of the present government.

Sources say that Javed is leaving the job for domestic reasons. Khalid Javed has earned respect by offering legal advice and taking positions on legal issues on the basis of the law and ethics. Unlike most others in the government, he was the one who had advised the prime minister to stop his government members from confronting and disrespecting the Election Commission of Pakistan on the issue of EVM-based polls.

While most ministers and PTI leaders have been insisting that after the law has been passed by the parliament in favour of the EVM-based election, the Election Commission has no option but to conduct electronic voting machine-based polls, the attorney general was of the view that final decision would be the ECP's. On other issues too, Khalid Javed has been mostly taking an independent view based on law and ethics.

Khalid Javed Khan was appointed as the attorney general of Pakistan with the rank and status of a federal minister. A day after his appointment as the chief law officer of the government, Khalid Javed had formally approached the government seeking complete autonomy of his office from the control of the law ministry.

Government sources said that the incumbent attorney general has also kept himself aloof from those in the government who had ill intentions against some members of the judiciary. The attorney general had also refused to represent the government in the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, citing a "conflict of interest".

The attorney general was also not satisfied with the powers and role of NAB. In a recent television interview, he said that he had raised objections against the recent amendments introduced in the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) and opposed some original provisions that allowed NAB officials to arrest a suspect before filing a reference against them.

Khalid Javed Khan had revealed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had turned down his suggestion to include a provision in the amended law to bar NAB officials from arresting suspects until a court decided on references against them.

He said the NAB's investigation and prosecution processes were flawed and that some cases should have concluded much earlier. "Accusing people of corruption and then saying after a year that no reference could be filed destroys reputations," he said, adding that the decision to arrest a suspect should be made by an accountability court and that too when a reference has already been filed. He insisted that no one should be arrested at the initial stage. He added that NAB had been unjust in some cases and needed to compensate the victims.