The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking the disqualification of Syed Zulfikar Ali Bukhari aka Zulfi Bukhari, the prime minister's special assistant on overseas Pakistanis and human resource development.
A three-member bench of the apex court, under Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqaib Nisar's stewardship, was told by the petitioner today that the Supreme Court's decision on dual nationality holders applies to Bukhari.
It is pertinent to mention here that the court, in its December 15 verdict, had declared that persons with dual nationality could not retain important government positions as they should choose between a government job and a foreign nationality.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan contested the petitioner's claim, with the chief justice clarifying that the SC had not imposed a ban in the dual nationality case and had instead only made its recommendations to the parliament.
"You should have challenged the rules of business against Zulfi Bukhari's appointment," the top judge suggested.
"The appointment of a special assistant is the prime minister's right," Justice Ahsan said, adding: "Zulfi Bukhari's case does not come under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution."
The petitioner's counsel, however, pointed out that "Zulfi Bukhari is signing foreign agreements; this is the job of a minister."
"He is working as a minister and even attending cabinet meetings," he added.
Bukhari's counsel Aitzaz Ahsan contest the petitioner's claim, saying that his client "has not claimed the status of a state minister".
At this, the chief justice told the petitioner that the court cannot sack Bukhari on his petition and can only make suggestions to the parliament.
Justice Nisar, however, sought details of Bukhari's credentials and ordered that the summary through which he was appointed a special assistant be presented in the court.
"If appointing his special assistant is the prime minister's right, it does not mean that he can do whatever he likes," the judge remarked.
After the hearing resumed following a break, the court set aside the petition but barred Bukhari from claiming the status of a minister, warning that "if he goes beyond his mandate then we will look into this matter."