Hanif Abbasi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, has resigned from his post after a court objected to his appointment. “With utmost respect, I, Muhammad Hanif Abbasi, was appointed as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister vide notification on April 27, 2022, being unable to perform duties, hence I would like to give my resignation and want to thank you for giving me this opportunity,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “I can do public service without holding any public office,” Hanif Abbasi said. Hanif Abbasi’s duties as special assistant to the prime minister had been temporarily halted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on May 17. (SAPM). The court ordered Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to reconsider Abbasi’s appointment “in the event that the conviction is not overturned.” The chief justice of the IHC had stated that, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision, no one could hold public office until his conviction was upheld. Justice Athar Minallah went on to say that the Supreme Court had made it clear that no convicted person could hold public office. He went on to say that first and foremost if one wanted to hold public office, the conviction had to be removed from the court records. He went on to say that this court did not interfere in the executive’s affairs, but that they should look into such matters for themselves. While hearing former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s petition challenging Abbasi’s appointment, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the directives, claiming that “a person with a criminal conviction, particularly a conviction for dealing in narcotics,” is unfit to hold such a position. On May 6, Sheikh Rashid, through his counsel Barrister Sajeel Shaharyar, filed a petition challenging Abbasi’s appointment, in which the Cabinet Division and Abbasi were named as respondents. The petition pointed out that the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) on July 21, 2012, registered an FIR against Abbasi under Section 9-C, 14, and 15 of the Control of Narcotics Substance Act, 1997 for selling 500kg ephedrine to drug smugglers instead of using the controlled chemical in medicine. As per the charge sheet, the two officials of Arafaat Traders, the Karachi-based medicine distribution company to whom Abbasi claimed to have supplied 11,000 ephedrine-containing tablets denied Abbasi’s claim, the challan revealed, though the same company had earlier confirmed before the ANF that Abbasi had provided them ephedrine-containing tablets. On July 21, 2018, the CNS Court found Abbasi guilty of selling 500kg of ephedrine to narcotics smugglers and sentenced him to life in prison with a fine of Rs1 million.