When will Dr Farogh Naseem return to cabinet for 3rd time?

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Shafaqna Pakistan: One week has passed since a Supreme Court 10-judge bench quashed a presidential reference that accused Justice Qazi Faez Isa of misconduct and sought his removal.

However, Dr Farogh Naseem who resigned as the federal minister for law ahead of the final hearings of the case to represent the government before the bench has not rejoined the federal cabinet.

It is learnt that during the last cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated performance of Dr Naseem in the Justice Isa case. The apex court while quashing the reference had ordered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to start proceedings against the judge’s family under tax law.
The PM has also rewarded Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar by appointing him as a member of the ruling PTI’s core committee.

Akbar also played an important role in filing the reference as head of the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) that collected details of Justice Isa’s family members foreign assets that he had not disclosed in his wealth statement – a fact on the basis of which the reference was filed.

These developments reflect that Dr Naseem may once again take charge of the law ministry for the third time. Some senior officials in the ministry also expect that he will be given charge of the ministry soon.

There are several reasons why Dr Naseem is regarded as a favorite for the post. He is very hard working and works at the ministry till late night. He is also in the good books of the “powerful circles”. He has a very good relationship with Principal Secretary to the PM Azam Khan, said a source.

Shahzad Akbar in his interview has already said referring Justice Isa case to the FBR is a victory of the government. One section within the PTI is, however, not in the favour of giving the portfolio of law minister to Dr Farogh Naseem until the apex court issues its detailed judgment in the Justice Isa case.

They also recommend that Parliamentary Secretary Maleeka Ali Bukhari should be given portfolio of minister of state for law and justice. They believe that Dr Naseem has failed to bring judicial reforms in the country during the last two years.

Prime Minister Imran Khan recently formed a three-member committee, comprising Dr Farogh Naseem, Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan and Adviser to the PM on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan to formulate proposals for judicial reforms in the country.

Sources said the three-month contract of the acting law secretary has also expired this week.

The Supreme Court in its June 19 short order did not give any reason for quashing the presidential reference. The short order began with these critical words: “For detailed reasons to be recorded later and subject to any orders made or directions given therein (if any).”

Renowned lawyer Faisal Siddiqi said the SC is not only going to issue detailed reasons explaining the meaning and basis of this short order but will also issue further orders in line with this order

Siddiqi said detailed reasons or further orders and directives may contain the answers to the critics who object to the Supreme Court’s referring the matter to the FBR.

He said the detailed verdict will also tell whether the actions of the ARU regarding judges are legal. It might also hold the president, the prime minister or their legal advisers or any other state institution accountable for the reference.

“Therefore, let us be patient and wait for the detailed reasons or other orders before engaging in such premature and misguided doomsday scenarios,” he said.

During the tenure of Dr Farogh Naseem as the federal minister for law, the relationship between the bar and the federal government has reached its lowest ebb.

Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Syed Qalb-i-Hassan has already announced that there will be no dialogue with the present government in the presence of Dr Farogh Naseem.

The SCBA president demanded that the PM take action against officials who wrongly advised the government to file the presidential reference. Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Abid Saqi has also accused Dr Naseem of “masterminding the conspiracy against the judiciary”.

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