Justice Asif Saeed Khosa — who will take oath as the next chief justice of Pakistan on Friday — while hearing a case regarding lawyers' strikes observed that judges are waiting to dispense justice but lawyers have "stopped working".
District judiciary lawyers in Islamabad have been on strike since December 2018 over the issue of rotation of judges of the sessions court. They are demanding rotation i.e. transfer of the judges of the lower courts to the subordinate judiciary of four provincial high courts and posting of judges from these high courts to Islamabad on deputation.
The government has proposed that instead of posting judges to other provinces, they may be transferred to federal government departments and ministries in Islamabad. But the Islamabad Bar Association president deems the proposal unacceptable since a well-connected judge may rejoin the district judiciary any time after his posting in any government department. He said that the lawyers would continue their strike till their demand for rotation of judges was accepted.
Justice Khosa while hearing the case on Wednesday remarked: "It is the lawyers that have stopped working; judges [in the district sessions courts of Islamabad] are sitting there waiting for people to come to them so that they dispense justice."
The to-be top judge said he had read in a newspaper that the strike takes place every Tuesday and Friday. "Two other days are already off," he noted.
Justice Khosa subsequently referred the matter to the Islamabad High Court.
According to recent data issued by the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP), there is a backlog of 38,291 cases and, on average, over 1,000 cases are added to this pendency every month.