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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court has temporarily barred PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi from performing his duties as the special assistant to the prime minister Shehbaz Sharif till next hearing of the case on May 27.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the directives in a case filed by former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed against the appointment of Abbasi as SAPM as he had been convicted in the ephedrine case in 2019.

PM Shehbaz appointed Abbasi as his special assistant with the status of federal minister on April 27. However, no portfolio has been assigned to Abbasi yet.

In a hearing of the case on May 9, CJ Minallah had instructed the prime minister to review his decision regarding the appointment of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader as his aide.

When hearing of the case resumed on Tuesday (today) CJ Minallah remarked that those who have been convicted are not eligible to hold public office and barred Abbasi from working as SAPM.

Advocate Ahsan Bhoon, who is representing Abbasi in the case, argued that the post of SAPM is different than other positions of public office. He pleaded the chief justice not to issue this order as it would give ultimate relief to the petitioner.

The chief justice remarked a SAPM’s job is to give advice to the prime minister which he could do without issuing notifications.

The court adjourned the hearing of the case till May 27.

In July 2018, the Control of Narcotics Substances court handed life imprisonment to Abbasi in the ephedrine quota case.

However, the Lahore High Court suspended the life sentence handed to Abbasi and ordered his release on bail in 2019.