Barrister Shehzad Ata Elahi, a young lawyer from Lahore, was appointed the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) on Thursday.
A notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said: “In exercise of the power conferred under Article 100(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, the president is pleased to appoint Barrister Shehzad Ata Elahi as AGP with the rank and status of the federal minister with immediate effect.”
Article 100(1) of the Constitution states that “the president shall appoint a person, being a person qualified to be a judge of the Supreme Court, to be the AGP.”
Elahi is the grandson of former president Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry and enjoys a good reputation for his hard work, integrity and understanding of legal issues. Barrister Elahi belongs to the famous law firm Cornelius, Lane & Mufti.
He is also a corporate lawyer who has rich experience in commercial, tax and banking laws, civil, commercial, corporate, constitutional litigation, etc.
The AGP office had been vacant since last October when Ashtar Ausaf Ali resigned, citing health reasons. In his place, Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Aamir Rehman had been appearing to represent the government before the Supreme Court.
The federal government’s previous pick — Mansoor Usman Awan — finally gave way when he expressed his inability by writing a letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif due to the government’s failure to issue the notification despite his nomination being approved by President Dr Arif Alvi last year in December.
The absence of any officer to represent the AGP office had even caught the attention not only of the Supreme Court but also of the Islamabad High Court, which has even sought a proper explanation from the law ministry in this regard.
Last month, the apex court had held that the AGP was a constitutional post and it could not be left vacant since there was no mention of an acting AGP in the Constitution.