Shahzad Akbar is still the adviser to the prime minister on accountability as a petition challenging his appointment was dismissed by an Islamabad court on Wednesday.
The Islamabad High Court was hearing the petition seeking Akbar’s removal from the post. Petitioner Advocate Pervez Zahoor argued that Akbar has been using political influence, adding that the appointment was against the National Assembly’s rules.
Hearing the case on Tuesday, Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the PM has the right to appoint anyone he wants as his adviser. The verdict was then reserved.
On June 20, the Islamabad High Court had cast doubt on Akbar’s appointment. In a ruling on the sugar mills case, the court said that authorising Akbar to take action in light of the sugar commission’s report is against the ruling of the Supreme Court.
The federal cabinet authorised Akbar to take action on the commission’s report and he wrote letters to NAB and the FBR. The high court said that this is the exclusive right of the federal cabinet and it can’t transfer this power to anyone else.
Section 18 of NAB Ordinance, 1999, says that only the federal government, including the federal cabinet and PM, can send a reference to NAB.
It added, “public office holders will have to regard the principles of due process and fair trial and refrain from acting or making statements that could prejudice the right to a fair trial or violate the principles”.
Who is Shahzad Akbar?
Akbar, who has become one of the leading faces of the PTI government in what it calls its “fight against corruption”, is a human rights lawyer. The former NAB official has been quite vocal about the drone strikes in Pakistan in the past.
He was promoted to adviser to PM on accountability and interior with the status of a federal minister on July 22. He is also the chairperson of the Assets Recovery Unit.
Previously, he was serving as the special assistant to PM on accountability and interior.