AG Anwar Mansoor Khan had to resign from his position on Thursday due to his controversial statement about some members from the Supreme Court Bench which was hearing the petition about the presidential reference against Justice Mr. Qazi Isa.
Upon contacting by the reporters, Law Ministry has confirmed that he was compelled to resign while Attorney General claimed that he has taken the resign decision in response to the demand by Pakistan Bar Council (PBC). He disagreed the stance by the government that he was compelled to tender resignation.
“The Government was well aware of the comments about SC”, said Mansoor
Former AG told in the News Eye Programme about withdrawal of the statement causing the controversy. He answered a question by saying that the statement had been discussed at government level. Mr Khan was asked by the Supreme Court on Wednesday to provide basis of his statement against members of the bench without mentioning any name or appologise. The court did restrain media from reporting the allegations.
The resignation came when the Federal Government separated itself from the remarks of Mr. Khan. Demand of resignation and apology was raised by Premier bodies of lawyers – Pakistan Bar Council and Supreme Court Bar Association. This made the situation worse. Consequently Mr Khan was left with no option but to resign.
Mr. Khan’s one page resignation letter states, “I note with profound regret that the Pakistan Bar Council, of which I am the Chairman, has demanded through its Feb 19 press release that I resign forthwith from the Office of the Attorney General of Pakistan. Being a life member of Karachi Bar Association, Sindh Bar Association and the Supreme Court Bar Association, and having previously served as the Advocate General Sindh, the Attorney General for Pakistan and a judge of the High Court of Sindh, I stand with my brothers and colleagues at the Bar and I wish to reaffirm my faith in the highest principles of integrity and professional excellence that the Pakistan Bar Council has always stood for.” In the end, former AG concluded: “Accordingly I hereby resign from the position of the Attorney General for Pakistan and request to accept it with immediate effect.”
“Federal Government respects the honorable judiciary and is not involved in any controversial comments”, Farogh Naseem cleared
In the mean time the Federal Government, through the law ministry, has submitted a 2 page reply to the Supreme Court. The replay calls the “oral statement” of Mr. Khan to be “unauthorized” and was made without any instructions from and in the knowledge of the FG.
Reply by Law and Justice Division Secretary Mohammad Khashih-ur-Rehman says, “It is pointed out that the federal government of Pakistan and the answering respondents hold the superior judiciary for Pakistan in the highest respect and esteem. Accordingly, the federal government and the answering respondents dissociate themselves from the statement of the learned attorney general”. Reply concluded, “The federal government and the answering respondents verily believe in the rule of law, constitutionalism and the independence of judiciary”.
Anwar Mansoor Khan has been appointed as Attorney General Second time on August 31, 2018. Earlier he has served at the same position during PPP Government. At that time he resigned due to differences with Mr. Babar Awan, the then law minister. Mr. Khan has served as a commissioned office in Pakistan Army since 1971- 1973. He also participated in 1971 war and was made prisoner then. In October 2000 he was appointed as Sindh High Court Judge from where he resigned on October 03, 2001 for practicing law.
Statement from Law Ministry
The law ministry denied the impression by Anwar Mansoor Khan that he had resigned from the post at his own. Ministry clearly stated that “attorney general was asked to resign”. A spokesperson for the ministry briefed that the “federal government has disassociated itself from the statement of former attorney general”. A statement by Law Ministry has also been submitted to Supreme Court about the controversial statement by Mr. Khan.
One day earlier PBC has decided to file a contempt petition against AG (then) and Dr Farogh Naseem (Law Minister) over the statement by Mr. Khan. It is worthy mentioned here that the PBC had issued Mr Naseem a show cause notice in June last year. He was asked to show cause for filing references against Supreme Court Justice Isa & Justice K.K Agha of the Sindh High Court. However Mr. Khan (Then AG) set aside the notice and asked the council member to explain why they have issued the notice.