ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court decision to bar the unelected advisers and special assistants to head government committees forced the Ministry of Finance to postpone Economic Coordination Committee (ECC). 

The ECC was scheduled to meet on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Special Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Hafeez Shaikh. Due to the court order, the meeting has been postponed for next week. 

“Adviser to PM rescheduled the ECC for next week without giving any reason,” a source in the Ministry of Finance told. According to the source, the Islamabad High decision is a major reason to delay the ECC.

Sources in the Ministry of Finance said that the government is currently exploring legal options to resolve this issue. They said that the Ministry of Law will file an appeal against this decision or may approach the Supreme Court to reverse this decision. “IHC decision put the ministries of finance and commerce on a standstill as the advisers to both ministries holds very strong positions and are the major decision-makers,” he added.

While deciding the petition filed by a member of the National Assembly, Justice Aamer Farooq held that unelected advisers and special assistants could not interfere into the executive’s domain. He sets aside notification about the formation of the cabinet committee on privatisation. The decision comes as a major blow to the privatisation process initiated by the government.

The petition was submitted by lawmaker Rana Iradat Sharif Khan through his counsel Barris­ter Mohsin Shahnawaz Ran­jha, had challenged the appointment of Hafeez Shaikh as chairman and Adviser to the PM on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain as members of the Competition Commission of Pakistan.

A detailed order on the challenge is expected over the next few days.


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