LAHORE: On Monday, a seven-judge larger bench of the Lahore High Court asked Attorney General of Punjab (AGP) Ahmad Awais to obtain written permission from Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to represent the provincial government in the case of the second joint investigation team (JIT) set up to hold a new inquiry into the Model Town incident in 2014.
Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan, who headed the bench, reminded the advocate general that without the CM’s written permission to allow him to represent the government in the court, the bench would not hear his claims.
The other members of the bench are Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Justice Aalia Neelum, Justice Sardar Sarfraz Dogar, Judge Asjad Javed Ghural, and Justice Farooq Haider.
The CJ remembered that in the same case, Mr Awais was charged in 2019 under the contempt of court charge and Chief Minister Buzdar had claimed in the court that the government will be represented by a new law officer.
Law officer faced contempt proceedings during previous stint
Mr. Awais said that he had retired, and that the government had named a new general advocate. Since the office fell empty, however he was appointed again, he added, adding that the 2019 order could not be applied now.
However the bench noted that after his reappearance in the court, an order leading to contempt proceedings against Mr Awais could be imposed. The bench claimed that without written authorization from the CM, it would not allow the AGP to appeal on behalf of the government in the event.
The hearing was adjourned by the bench until a date to be set by the office.
After contempt proceedings were instituted against him by a full LHC bench for making a scene in the courtroom and attempting to pressure the judges at the time of the notification of a stay order against the second JIT on Model Town event, Mr Awais resigned.
Mr. Awais chose dismissal to an apology and even accused the bench members of wrongdoing. Later, after CM Buzdar appeared before it the three-judge full bench dismissed the contempt proceedings.
The validity of the second JIT has been disputed by Khurram Rafiq and other police officials standing trial in the Model Town case.
On June 17, 2014, when police opened fire to disperse protesting activists of Pakistan’s Awami Tehreek (PAT) during a ‘anti-intrusion’ operation outside the home of its leader, Dr Tahirul Qadri, at least 14 people were killed and 100 others were wounded.