PESHAWAR, March 26: Seven Peshawar High Court additional judges on Tuesday took oath increasing the court’s strength to 18.

The court is still two judges short of the sanctioned strength.

Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan administered the oath to the judges, including Justice Syed Afsar Shah, Justice Mussarat Hilali, Justice Lal Jan Khattak, Justice Daud Khan, Justice Abdul Lateef Khan, Justice Malik Manzoor and Justice Ikramullah Khan.

The judges were appointed for one year by the president of Pakistan on the recommendation of the Judicial Commission and the Parliamentary Committee for appointment of judges.

The oath-taking ceremony was attended by judges of the high court, subordinate judiciary and members of the bar.

Now, of the 18 PHC judges, only four are confirmed and the rest additional.

Justice Mussarat Hilali is the first woman judge of PHC from the bar.

Before her, two women district and sessions judges, Khalida Rachied and Irshad Qaiser, were elevated to the bench.

Justice Irshad Qaiser is still part of the high court.

Justice Hilali is a noted human rights activist and had also remained the vice chairwoman of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

She is a law graduate from the University of Peshawar and was enrolled as an advocate of the high court in 1988. She has also served as vice president and secretary general of PHC Bar Association. She was the first chairwoman of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Tribunal.Prior to her elevation, she was serving as the first-ever federal ombudsman for checking harassment of women at workplace.

Justice Hilali was an active member of the lawyers’ movement. During the movement the local police had conducted a raid on her residence to arrest her in Mar 2009 and one of her legs got fractured during that raid. Hailing from southern Karak district, Justice Lal Jan Khattak was serving as the additional advocate general before his elevation.

Justice Abdul Lateef Khan was a member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council from Hazara and is considered versed with the civil law.

Similarly, Justice Malik Manzoor Khan was a senior advocate and a former vice president of Supreme Court Bar Association. He is considered an expert both in criminal and civil laws.

Justice Daud Khan is the former president of PHCBA, DI Khan bench, while Justice Syed Afsar Shah is a senior judicial officer, who had served as district and sessions judge at different districts.

Before his elevation to the bench, he was serving as a special judge (control of narcotics substance). He has also remained a judge of the accountability court.

Justice Ikramullah Khan is from Swat and is former additional advocate general. — Bureau Report

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