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Attorney General Irfan Qadir. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Attorney General Irfan Qadir, who by virtue of his office holds an important position in the Judicial Commission (JC) that recommends the names for appointment or elevation of judges to the superior judiciary, has expressed his inability to attend Saturday’s meeting of the commission.

The commission, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, is meeting to confirm an additional judge of the Sindh High Court.

“There is every likelihood that Law Minister Farooq H. Naek will also not attend the meeting,” a source privy to the development told Dawn.

Mr Qadir’s inability to attend the meeting has been conveyed to JC Secretary Dr Faqir Hussain, who is also registrar of the Supreme Court, through a letter issued by the AG office on Friday.

“This is to convey to you that the Attorney General for Pakistan shall not be attending tomorrow’s (Saturday) meeting of the Judicial Commission in view of the fact that the commission is not properly constituted since the Pakistan Bar Council (PCB) has not sent the name of any senior lawyer for being a member of the Judicial Commission. You are, therefore, informed accordingly,” the letter stated.

“Technically, there is no bar on the holding of the JC meeting in case any member of the commission is not available,” PCB vice-chairman Akhtar Hussain said. But he admitted that the validity and sanctity of any recommendation or a decision taken by the commission would be affected and could be called in question if important stakeholders in the appointment of judges did not attend the meeting.

The situation will be compounded further if the law minister, attorney general and representative of the PBC distance themselves from the meeting.

The PBC, an apex body of the legal fraternity, has no representation in the JC after the completion of two years’ term of senior counsel Dr Khalid Ranjha and it has yet to send a representative to replace him.

At a meeting on Nov 7 last year, the PBC adopted a resolution suggesting postponement of the nomination of its representative to the JC for the time being.

“We deferred the nomination because we believe that the participation of the members of the commission should be meaningful and should be consulted on the appointment of judges right from the time of initiation and preparation of lists of the proposed names,” Akhtar Hussain explained, adding that currently this was not the practice.

“We believe that any member of the JC should have the right to propose the names for appointment as judges during the meeting of the commission, but for this purpose rules framed by the JC need to be suitably amended. And till the time rules are framed no nomination will be made,” he said.

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