Policemen stand guard in front of the Islamabad High Court building. — Photo by AFP/File

ISLAMABAD, Oct 23: A day after the judicial commission of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry declined to confirm Justice Mohammad Azim Khan Afridi, an additional judge of Islamabad High Court (IHC) as a regular judge, he excused himself from hearing the cases pending in his court, including that of the army chief’s extension.

The judicial commission on Oct 22 recommended the parliamentary committee on judges’ appointment to confirm the service of IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and to give six months extension to the additional judge Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi.

The commission, however, recommended the repatriation of Justice Afridi to his parent department in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa judicial service.

Subsequently, IHC registrar office on Tuesday cancelled the cause list of cases fixed before him, including an appeal filed against extension of chief of army staff (COAS) Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, which was fixed for hearing on the same day before Justice Afridi.

The sudden cancellation of cause list surprised many litigants including the appellant of the said appeal Col (retired) Inamur Rahim. “I was expecting that the judge would continue hearing the case till the last working day,” he said.

He, however, requested the registrar office for fixing the appeal after Eid.

IHC spokesman S.M. Tariq, when contacted, expressed ignorance about the development.

A senior IHC official, however, confirmed that Justice Afridi had not presided over the court on Tuesday. He had expressed his inability to continue the hearing of cases and had forwarded a written excuse in this regard.

He said the cases which were fixed before him would be transferred to other courts with the approval of the competent authority.

According to the IHC spokesman, the parliamentary committee on judges’ appointment has yet to consider the recommendation of the judicial commission, regarding the repatriation of the judge and the entire process would take three to four weeks.

The federal government after these deliberations would issue a notification for the repatriation of Justice Afridi, he added.

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