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CDA chairman refuses to budge on legal adviser’s appointment

By Tariq Butt
October 24, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Afzal Latif has stood his ground and refused to relieve its legal adviser who has been replaced by the federal government with another lawyer.

“Afzal Latif is facing pressure to chuck out Kashif Malik and let the new legal adviser, Shahid Nasim, take the charge,” an informed official told The News on condition of anonymity. He said Kashif Malik tendered his resignation on October 18 but the CDA chairman called him next day and directed him to continue as not only he but all the members of the members of the board of the civic body want him to stay due to his professional assistance.

When contacted, a close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan with the status of federal minister, who had been involved in this matter, told The News on the condition of not being named that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has been facing a lot of problems from the political appointees of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

“As a matter of policy it has been decided to change most law officers appointed by the previous regime, whose conduct so far has not been in the interest of our government,” the aide said answering questions on WhatsApp. “Therefore, as a first step, we have appointed about sixty law officers in Punjab. More nominations will be announced soon,” he said.

The premier’s associate claimed that the appointment of CDA’s legal advisor by the Nawaz Sharif government was purely political. The adviser was closely related to former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and his father was a National Assembly candidate of the PML-N from Attock, he said.

“We have now appointed a new legal advisor in his place who will fully support the anti-encroachment drive of CDA, something which was not done before,” the aide claimed, and denied answering a question that the CDA chairman has declined to accept the new appointment.

Afzal Latif is the son of former top police officer and ex-director general of the Federal Investigation Agency Wajahat Latif. Prior to his appointment as the CDA chief seven weeks back, Afzal Latif served for several years in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) during the tenure of the PTI’s previous provincial government. He also held the top slot of the senior member of the Board of Revenue apart being provincial secretary. Since he was tested and tried, the PTI’s federal government selected him as the CDA chairman.

Afzal Latif was not available for comments but other officials, who are aware of his views, said that the CDA board was empowered to approve or disapprove the appointment of legal adviser. They said Kashif Malik can’t be replaced if the board favoured his continuation.

When approached, Kashif Malik offered no comment. He had been reluctant to continue as he did not want to be embroiled in any controversy. He is busy, successful practicing lawyer. While serving as the legal adviser, Kashif Malik has successfully defended CDA’s interests in many high profile cases relating to Grand Hyatt (Constitution One), Safa Gold Mall, encroachments by influential owners of shopping and residential plazas and hotels, land acquisition and housing societies. Shahid Nasim contested the July 25 general elections for Punjab Assembly seat PP-67 Mandi Bahauddin on the PTI ticket but lost.