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ISLAMABAD: The Judi­cial Commission (JC) on judges’ appointment on Thursday recommended elevation of Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah to the Supreme Court to complete the strength of 17 judges in the apex court.

A meeting of the commission presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar also recommended the appointment of senior puisne judge Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali as LHC chief justice.

Justice Ali is also a member of the three-member special court seized with a treason case against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf for proclaiming a state of emergency on Nov 3, 2007.

Justice Mansoor Shah, who was appointed LHC chief justice in June 2015, is known for introducing a number of reforms in the judiciary and spearheading the case management and court automation systems at the high court and district judiciary.

He is also working on developing the first-ever alternative dispute resolution centre at Lahore for litigants. He lays special emphasis on research and has been the force behind setting up the Lahore High Court Research Centre.

During his tenure, Justice Shah also had to face strong resistance from a section of the legal fraternity because of his strong opposition to the culture of strikes and protests by lawyers, especially in the subordinate judiciary, which have virtually rendered the justice system dysfunctional.

He is a strong proponent of framing rules and guidelines under which strikes or demonstrations without the prior consent of the Pakis­tan Bar Council (PBC) or provincial bar councils are to be treated as misconduct.

On one occasion the Supreme Court had to intervene in the wake of a dispute between Justice Mansoor Shah and the Multan High Court Bar Association last year.

The JC meeting also recommended elevation of two district and sessions judges — Ishrat Ali Shah and Kausar Sultana Hussain — as well as four lawyers — Shamsuddin Abbasi, Adnan Iqbal Chaudhry, Amjed Ali Sahito and Agha Faisal. After their elevation they will be appointed additional judges for a period of one year.

The recommendations of the JC will be sent to the eight-member bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee on judges’ appointment for consideration.

The JC meeting also discussed a longstanding dem­and of lawyers’ representative bodies for amendments to the Judicial Commission Rules 2010 to make the nomination process more transparent with the active participation of the PBC.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2018