Babar Awan — a hero or just another pragmatic politician | Pakistan Today

Babar Awan — a hero or just another pragmatic politician

Senator Dr Babar Awan of the Pakistan People’s Party has won appreciations from his party leadership and party ranks for the ‘sacrifice’ he made by resigning from his position as federal law minister to appear in the Supreme Court in connection with reopening of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto case.
In a dramatic move, he presented his resignation to the Supreme Court on April 13, 2011 during the hearing of reopening of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s trial.
He took the daring decision when the three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, observed that being the law minister, Awan could be allowed represent any party in the case.
Babar Awan’s words became part of the national judicial history when he said, “I prefer this case to my portfolio as the minister”.
The chief justice appreciated his intention and told him to submit his resignation before the competent authority.
PPP’s Senator Maula Bux Chandio replaced Babar Awan as federal law minister.
Five months on, Babar Awan has been the sole authority in the Law Ministry despite having tendered his resignation from the slot. Sources privy to the matter say Chandio is “simply a puppet in the hands puppet mster Babar Awan”.
They say he has no voice of his own and so is his interest in the ministry’s affairs and Awan takes all the policy decisions. They say the law secretary takes instructions directly from Babar Awan in all important cases while Chandio merely acts as a ceremonial head of the ministry.
“Actually Awan has hit two birds with one stone. He earned admiration from party leadership by tendering resignation for a ‘great cause’ and also introduced his brother Ghulam Farooq Awan to the political arena,” sources told Pakistan Today.
President Asif Ali Zardari, on the advice of Prime Minister Gilani, then appointed Ghulam Farooq Awan as Adviser to the Prime Minister on Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs on April 16, within two days of the resignation of Dr. Babar Awan.
Farooq is now acting as second to his elder brother while Chandio is now number three when it comes to exercise of authority viz-a-viz ministry’s affairs.
Chandio is unable to make his own decisions as the ministry’s head and Awan is poised to reoccupy the law minister office as soon as the ZAB trial is over.
But since the proceedings in the ZAB case are getting lengthy, the frustration on the part of Babar Awan is natural as he had never thought that proceedings would get stretched over more than five months.
It was Babar Awan’s guess that the case would be over within two to three months and he would be back as the law minister, the sources said.
They said that to the utter disappointment of Babar Awan, the case is getting prolonged and the court recently postponed the hearing of the case for an indefinite period.
The ministry, however, is being run on ad-hoc basis. According to the sources, there are a number of officers in the ministry who are working on contract basis.
They include Senior Joint Secretary Dr Riaz Ahmad, Syed Sultan Shah, Muhammad Rafique, Manzoor Ahmad Mirza, Rana Baqir Ali or the Legislator Advisor Mr Leghari, Deputy Legislator Advisor Nusrat, Deputy Legislative Advisor Raja Naeem Akbar.
Section officers including Dost Muhammad, Muhammad Siddique and Malik Maqbool Ahmad are also working on contract. The post of Solicitor General has been lying vacant since June 30. Now as Babar Awan has one leg in the SC and the other in the law ministry, it is better if he gives free hand to Chandio as long as he is officially the minister again so that the ministry could work properly.

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