SC gives govt till 17th to find country's law officer.

ISLAMABAD -- The delays on the part of the federal government in notifying its principal law officer finally caught the attention of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, when Law Secretary Raja Naeem was summoned on Jan 17 along with the relevant summary regarding the fresh appointment and resignation of the previous attorney general for Pakistan (AGP).

'Where is the AGP and who is the AGP,' wondered Justice Qazi Faez Isa while heading a two-judge bench that had taken up a matter regarding a property in Rawalpindi's cantonment area.

The issue cropped up when, during the hearing, Justice Isa asked Deputy Attorney General Raja Shafqat Abbasi who was the current AGP. In response, the DAG stated Ashtar Ausaf Ali was still the AGP.

At the heart of the controversy is the non-issuance of the notification of Mansoor Usman Awan, who was appointed the 37th AGP on Dec 23 following the approval of President Arif Alvi. Mr Awan was appointed to fill the office when his predecessor Ashtar Ausaf Ali tendered his resignation in Oct due to health reasons, though was retained by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to continue serving until his replacement can take over.

An announcement from the Presidency had confirmed that the appointment of Usman Mansoor Awan had been approved after the acceptance of Ashtar Ausaf's resignation.

But to the surprise of many, no notification has been issued by the Ministry of Law to date, despite the passage of 19 days. This indecisiveness on part of the government forced Mansoor Awan to represent Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman before the Lahore High Court on Wednesday.

'A de facto veto was exercised against the appointment of the government-proposed AGP,' former Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar commented, adding that an intra-institutional polarity, personal piques and favourites were some of the obvious reasons for the 'contrived impasse'.

Another law officer, on condition of anonymity, said given the present situation, it would have been very difficult for any law officer to perform to the best of...

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