The newly appointed Attorney General’s letter to the government is indicative of his attempt to separate the AG office from the Law Ministry, which is how it is supposed to be in principle as well. While the AG is a direct representative and advisor of the government on legal matters, the office cannot be completely subservient to the Law Ministry and must have some independence if it is to work effectively.

The letter mentioned the reason behind AG Khalid Jawed Khan’s move to seek autonomy; the government had been looking to hire 22 law officers – 7 were in the final stages of the process – unilaterally. This gives us an idea into the extent of the ruling party’s interference in the AG office. With the control of these appointments, the many prosecutions launched against opposition political leaders and bureaucrats are brought into question. Were members of other political parties nabbed for actual crimes, or because of their disagreements with the government?

This is exactly why the AG’s attempt to clearly demark and separate the roles of the law ministry and his office is so important. Cases of graft and corruption, a key election promise of the ruling party, must be carried out transparently and equitably in order to be considered valid. This is the only way the government can truly fulfil its duty to its voters.

The government must facilitate the new AG’s request and must restrict its role in his office as soon as possible. Hopefully, with full autonomy, the AG’s office can be restored to an unbiased and unaligned arbitrator and interpreter of the law, one that is not toeing around party lines.