IHC directs PM Shehbaz to review Hanif Abbasi’s appointment as SAPM

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday directed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to review his decision of appointing Hanif Abbasi as his special assistant.

The court issued the directive while hearing a plea filed by former interior minister and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid, who has challenged Abbasi’s appointment as a special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM) on grounds of his 2018 conviction in an ephedrine case.

In his petition, Rashid pointed out that the Lahore High Court had only suspended Abbasi’s sentence and not his conviction in the case, adding that “the conviction stood intact for all intents and purposes”.

Rashid again highlighted these objections at today’s hearing, saying that a convict had been made an SAPM.

At this, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked whether any hearing in the drug case was held after the suspension of Abbasi’s sentence.

“It has been four years and no hearing has been held,” replied Rashid’s lawyer.

Following that, the court issued notices to the respondents, directed the PM to review his decision of appointing Abbasi as his SAPM and adjourned the hearing till May 17.