EXCLUSIVE: Punjab AG Shan Gul Resigns, Prosecutor General Sacked

EXCLUSIVE: Punjab AG Shan Gul Resigns, Prosecutor General Sacked
LAHORE: Punjab Advocate General (AG) Muhammad Shan Gul has stepped down from his post after the Provincial Cabinet received his resignation letter, and Prosecutor General Punjab Barrister Khaliquz Zaman Chaudhry has been removed for not diligently following cases registered in the aftermath of May 9 mayhem, The Friday Times (TFT) has learnt.

Punjab cabinet mulling over names to replace them

Sources privy to this development confirmed to TFT that provincial cabinet led by Chief Minister Punjab Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi is not satisfied with the performance of these two individuals, and are currently mulling over the names of senior lawyers and constitutional experts who could fill in these two top slots in Punjab.

Barrister Khaliq Uz Zaman de-notification is on cards

Sources maintained that after the final nod from CM Punjab, Barrister Khaliquz Zaman will be de-notified.

“He had a lethargic and laid back attitude towards cases registered against the miscreants involved in the May 9 incident,” a senior official who is privy to this development said.

He further maintained that the provincial cabinet believes that the cases should have been stronger as documented evidence was available, but he deliberately didn’t prepare stronger cases and did not pursue the cases well in courts.

It is pertinent to mention that Chaudhry had previously served as Deputy Prosecutor General (DPG) NAB Lahore; he resigned from his post on August 1, 2022 citing personal reasons.

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Chaudhry had said that it has become difficult to work with NAB at the present time. In his resignation, he mentioned that he cannot work with NAB due to certain circumstances after which he was appointed Prosecutor General Punjab on August 12, 2022.

AG Shan Gul Resigned from his position

Sources who are privy to this development confirmed to TFT that AG Shan Gul has resigned from his post with effect from June 27, 2023.

In his resignation written to Governor Punjab Balighur Rehman and Chief Minister Punjab Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi, he stated that it was in the early wake of his return to private practice, after only recently having not been confirmed as a Permanent Judge of the Lahore High Court, that he had found himself approached by Mr. Mohsin Naqvi, the Chief Minister, Mr. Zahid Akhtar Zaman, the Chief Secretary, and Mr. Ahmed Raza Sarwar, the Additional Chief Secretary, in relation to his availability to serve as the Advocate General of the Province.

“At the time I was offered this esteemed position, I had been specifically informed that the appointment was only for a short duration, which prompted me to accept it,” he stated.

He further maintained that “at the time of my assumption of office, it pains me to highlight that the office was marred with matters that had been pending for over a year, inclusive of opinions sought by various departments and Order XXVII-A notices.”

“It gives me great personal joy to consider it an achievement to report that the Office, at present, has no outstanding matters pending,” his resignation letter reads.

His resignation letter states that he is unable to perform the functions of his office on account of prior domestic commitments that he is no longer able to postpone.

“As such, I would be exceedingly grateful if my resignation from the post of the Advocate General, Punjab is accepted w.e.f 27.06.2023. It has been an honor and a privilege to have served this Office and the Province under your kind auspices and I shall forever remain indebted to yourself and the Province for this gracious opportunity,” Gul concluded.

Sources maintained that Gul was also aware that the Punjab government was not happy with his performance as Advocate General in Punjab, especially with respect to May 9 cases.

“The provincial cabinet believes that he was not making an all-out effort in these cases registered against the miscreants,” a senior official said.

Muhammad Shan Gul was appointed on February 16, 2023 as the Punjab Advocate General. Gul was serving as the additional advocate general of the province since the interim government assumed power.

Previously, he was appointed additional advocate general in Punjab on March 3, 2020, and in 2021, he was made additional judge of the Lahore High Court, but in 2022, he was not regularized as the Supreme Judicial Commission dropped the names of Justice Shan Gul and Justice Sohail Nasir.

The writer is a senior correspondent at The Friday Times with a focus on politics, economy and militancy.