LAHORE Bureaucratic attitude has led Khwaja Harris Ahmad to resign as Punjab Advocate General while leaving other members of team in the AG office up again stiff neck baboos and in a fix whether to stay on or follow the suit of their head.
Investigating the matter it was revealed by the sources in the Advocate General Punjab office that Khwaja Harris opted for resignation as last option after Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif held a meeting him with on Saturday last and heard his grievances but without giving him any concrete assurance to take the officers in the public departments to task. This led Khwaja Harris, who enjoys long time relationship with the Sharif family and has been appearing for the Sharifs in a number of cases before the court, was quite dismay and broken heart after meeting with the CM and on returning to the office, the first thing he did sending his resignation to the CM.
Khwaja Harris enjoys an excellent reputation as a man of principles, for his hardworking, humanity and the professional acumen. His resignation has been reckoned by the law officers a big loss to the department and its functioning.
Khwaja was fed up with hurdles created by bureaucrats in the smooth working of the Advocate Office. It owes to the efforts of Khwaja Harris that the Advocate General Office secured independence from the Law Ministry and wanted to act neutrally and impartially strictly in accordance with the law. His team members were much pleased with him and confident under his leadership.
Sources said that the officers of various departments became a nuisance for the Advocate General office as most of the officers exhibited the same lethargic and procrastinating attitude towards the AG office which is a hallmark of the public departments. But heat of their conduct came from the Court to the law officers and the name of Advocate General remained under fire for none of his fault. They say that from a patwari and police constable to the higher officers no required interest was shown most of the time about filing of the comments/reply on the petitions, produce record and do other do other needful and tended to delay compliance with direction one way or the other at the level of the High Court. And the office of the Advocate General continued to write them but not getting positive response most of the times. This irritated not only the law officers but also the courts and the law officers being in the fore were to face the music before the Bench while baboos taking shelter behind them. The law officers kept the AG abreast of the situation and he in turn, brought the fact to the higher authorities almost all the time.
This resulted in added problems for the AG Office and it was vexed through other means by the bureaucrats, say the sources quoting the example when the AG office had sought the grant of Rs 9,00,000 for the library of the office and to purchase new books, but only Rs 5,00,000 were approved after lot of dilly dallying.
Another source privy to various background developments, says the fact was the baboos could not reconcile with the situation erupted following the grant of independence to the AG Office as the former being accustomed to enjoying full protocol found infradig to go to the AG office on law officers in pursuance of the cases filed against the public departments. However the situation was different in relation to the cases before the Supreme Court where the fear of supreme judiciary dominated the bureaucrats. But most of them failed to give due response in relation to the cases before the LHC. So the overall effect came as resignation of Khwaja Harris along with that of Additional Advocate General Khadim Hussain Qaiser.
In an interaction Khadim said he resigned to express solidarity with Khwaja Harris who met them in the office on Thursday.
About the Thursday meeting, sources say, a suggestion was floated for en bloc resignation by all the law officer in support of the stand of Khwaja Harris who however restrained them from taking that course. They say after Khadim Hussain Qaiser some other law officers are mulling resignation.
The resignation of Punjab chief law officer and the additional AG has not been accepted at the level of Chief Minister and some quarters in the government have become active to agree them on withdrawing the same on the assurance problems would be addressed, sources claim.