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Pakistan's Attorney General Resigns Under Pressure From Lawyers, Supreme Court


Pakistani Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan (file photo)
Pakistani Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan (file photo)

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan's Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan has stepped down after coming under pressure from the country's influential lawyers' organization, the Bar Council, for critical remarks he made about members of the Supreme Court.

In his February 20 resignation letter, Khan expressed "profound regret" that the council -- which he currently chairs -- had called for his departure. Khan said in his letter that his resignation was effective immediately.

Khan was appointed attorney general for the second time on August 31, 2018. He previously served in that position from December 2009 to April 2010.

During a hearing on February 18 before the Supreme Judicial Council in the federal government's case against Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Khan questioned the moral character of the nation's top judges.

The Supreme Judicial Council called Khan's remarks -- which they banned Pakistani media from reporting -- "too serious" and demanded that he retract them, which he refused to do.

"As a certain statement was made by the AG about the bench yesterday, it would be appreciated if the material on the basis of which the statement was made is placed on record before the bench," Justice Umar Ata Bandial said at the end of the hearing on February 19.

The federal government is seeking to remove Isa, who is slated to become chief justice of the Supreme Court in 2023, from his seat for not reporting three properties it claims he owns in London.

The Supreme Judicial Council, a bench that includes Supreme Court justices, is the only body that can remove a member of Pakistan's Supreme Court.

Isa said the properties belong to his adult children and his wife. He has called the allegations an attack on the "independence of the judiciary."

Pakistani media reported that Isa drew the government's wrath following a 2019 court case, known as the "Faizabad sit in," in which opponents say he criticized the armed forces and spy agencies.

Isa became a member of the Supreme Court in 2014.

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