IHC expresses displeasure over Sheikh Rashid's political petition

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday expressed displeasure over a political petition filed by former interior minister Sheikh Rashid, saying an exemplary fine will be imposed if such a silly matter is taken to court again.

Challenging the appointment of 72 cabinet members in the IHC, Sheikh Rashid contended that it is a violation of Article 92(1) of the Constitution.

The petition stated that the cabinet of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif includes 72 members, which include 34 federal ministers, seven state ministers, four advisers and 27 special assistants.

He had requested the court to set aside the appointments of the PM’s aides that exceeds the prescribed limit.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah took up the matter today (Tuesday) and reprimanded the petitioner for "disrespecting" parliament, saying such a mindset has damaged the forum.

At this, Sheikh Rashid’s counsel said that they have no other forum for this other than the IHC.

"Too much disrespect of the Parliament has taken place and such a petition should not be filed again with the court."

The IHC chief justice remarked that elected representatives are in parliament and the court will not interfere in its affairs.

"Did the petitioner publish the list of special assistants and advisers when he was in the government?" he asked.

IHC CJ Minallah asked Sheikh Rasheed whether he ever visited Adiala Jail when he was the interior minister. "You have no idea what’s happening there."

"Sheikh sahib, we respect you and do not demean parliament," the IHC CJ said, adding that the court respects parliament as well and does not interfere in the executive’s matters.

"You can come to us if your basic rights are affected, but not like this."

The IHC CJ stated that this is a baseless petition and the court could have imposed a fine but showed restraint this time.

IHC CJ Minallah advised Sheikh Rashid to return to parliament and fight his case as it is the biggest forum.

"Parliament makes the government accountable why are you dragging court in this? We respect you and keep court away from political issues,” he said.

To this, the former minister requested to withdraw the petition. However, the IHC CJ responded that an order will be issued over it.

After the hearing, while talking to media, former Interior Minister Rashid said that he is with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. He said that he will follow the court’s order on whether to go to the National Assembly or not.

Sheikh Rashid said that the CJ has asked him to solve the issue of 72-member cabinet members in the assembly.

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