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First-ever woman AG removed from post

LAHORE: Asma Hamid, who was appointed as Advocate General of Punjab by former Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in closing days of his government’s five-year term, was removed from the post on Wednesday.

Additional advocate general Shan Gul has been given charge of the office of AG as a stop-gap arrangement.

Earlier, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had taken notice of the appointment of Ms Hamid and sought an explanation from the provincial government in this regard.

It summoned the Punjab chief secretary to explain as to why the appointment was made despite its ban on recruitment ahead of general elections.

The commission directed the provincial government to ensure implementation of its ban in letter and spirit.

The former CM reportedly approved a summary with regard to the appointment of Ms Hamid as first-ever woman AGP.

The appointment came just days before the PML-N government completed its five-year tenure on May 31.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had also written a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner and the caretaker chief minister, pointing out that Hamid’s appointment was made in a helter-skelter manner without following the required procedure laid down for such an appointment.

Expressing concern over the appointment, the party termed it pre-poll rigging and requested the CEC and Punjab caretaker chief minister to declare it illegal and void.

PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said Ms Hamid’s father Shahid Hamid and uncle Zahid Hamid are the Sharif family’s loyalists, suggesting that her appointment was made on political basis rather than merit.

On April 11, the electoral body banned fresh government jobs with effect from April 01. All federal and provincial authorities were issued directives to strictly comply with the restrictions, according to a statement issued by the ECP.

It added that the ban is aimed to ensure transparency in the general elections scheduled around August this year and discourage pre-polling rigging by offering incentives such as jobs.

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