Pak govt removes deputy attorney general for doing seva

Islamabad: The Pakistan government has fired a top law officer who earned the ire of lawyers by washing dishes and polishing shoes while performing voluntary service at Hindu and Sikh shrines in India to promote inter-faith harmony.

Khurshid Khan, a Deputy Attorney General based in the northwestern city of Peshawar, was de-notified and replaced by another lawyer while he was on a private visit to Nepal and Bhutan to perform `sewa` at places of worship.

Attorney General Irfan Qadir too confirmed that Khan had been replaced by another lawyer.
He did not cite any reason for Khan`s removal. "Deputy Attorney General is not a permanent post. It`s assigned for three years," Qadir said.

Khan, currently in Kathmandu, cut short his planned tour and decided to return to Pakistan. He told The Express Tribune on phone that he had been removed from his post.

He also gave another reason for his sacking. "I`ve been punished for my struggle against corruption and for challenging Dewaan-e-Khaas, a restaurant allegedly built on public property by Awami National Party activists," Khan said. Khan said he had spoken to his son and asked him to return the official vehicle provided by the government.

The law officer has been in the limelight since he began his "sewa campaign" at Jogan Shah Gurdwara in Peshawar after Taliban militants kidnapped and killed some Sikhs in the lawless tribal belt some years ago.

In March, Khan swept floors, washed dishes and polished shoes at Sikh gurdwaras and mosques during a visit to India. Khan said at the time his actions were aimed at healing the "wounds of minorities in Pakistan by becoming their sevadar". But his actions did not go down well with conservatives.

The Supreme Court Bar Association issued him a show-cause notice for "defaming" Pakistan though the notice was not delivered following strong criticism by liberal lawyers.

Khan assumed his post in September 2010 and his stint would have ended in September this year. "Now, (after the sacking), I`ve been released from the golden cage. I will continue to fight against corruption," Khan said.

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