Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, hearing on Thursday a suo moto case on non-functioning tribunals and special courts across Pakistan, gave a week's time for all vacant positions for judges to be filled, noting that "things do not get done easily" in the country.
"All vacant positions should be filled by next Friday [January 19]," the chief justice told the attorney general and provincial advocate generals. "For judicial reforms, it is imperative that no judge positions remain unoccupied."
The chief justice also asked Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali to explain why the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) prosecutor general has yet not been appointed. At this, the attorney general assured the CJ that "Prosecutor General NAB will be appointed by tomorrow."
When asked to disclose details of vacancies in Islamabad, Ausaf said six judges in the capital have additional charge.
Meanwhile, the advocate general Sindh told the court that 56 special courts and tribunals are operating in Sindh — a number the chief justice had his doubts on.
"If that's the case, then submit the Sindh chief secretary's affidavit," the CJ said. "If the affidavit is found to be incorrect, we will see what actions need to be taken."
The chief justice was told that Punjab has a sole vacancy — in an anti-corruption court — and its nomination has already been sent to the chief minister Punjab for approval.
"Get the nomination approved soon," the CJ responded.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's assistant advocate general reported that his province only has a court problem, to which the chief justice remarked: "Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also has an environmental problem."
The chief justice said lawyers should also be considered for vacant positions. "I want lawyers to also be accommodated in these vacant positions. If there is a capable lawyer then the attorney general can nominate him," he said.
The case's hearing was adjourned until next Friday.