LAHORE: A lawyers’ convention on Saturday resolved to resist attempts by the government to increase age for retirement of judges of the Supreme Court and urged all political parties to foil any bid to introduce a constitutional amendment to this effect.

The convention also termed the government’s references against Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice KK Agha an act based on of mala fide intention and demanded their immediate withdrawal.

Elected representatives of bar councils and associations from across the country attended the convention hosted by the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA).

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Amjad Ali Shah, its members Ahsan Bhoon, Azam Nazir Tarar, Abid Saqi, LHCBA president Hafeezur Rehman Chaudhry, Baluchistan Bar Council executive committee chairman Rahib Khan Baledi, Punjab Bar Council vice chairman Shahnawaz Ismail Gujjar, Islamabad Bar Council executive committee chairman Javed Saleem Sarosh, Supreme Court Bar Association’s vice president Malik Karamat Awan and Lahore Bar Association’s president Asim Cheema were prominent among the participants.

A declaration issued at the convention further questioned the ongoing process of “selective accountability” in the country and demanded an immediate release of all political prisoners.

It urged the courts to dispense quick justice to all political prisoners and ensure implementation of the Constitution in the country.

The convention expressed serious concern over recent appointments of judges in superior courts and called for appropriate amendment in Article 175-A of the Constitution to ensure due representation of all stakeholders in the Judicial Commission. It also demanded that the minimum age criteria for becoming a high court judges should be decreased by five years from 45 to 40 years.

The convention also sought amendments to make rules for suo motu powers of the Supreme Court under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution in the light of the PBC recommendations.

It questioned the working of model courts in the country under direct control of the Supreme Court and urged all the provincial high courts to enforce their constitutional supervisory role in their respective district courts.

The declaration passed by the convention also demanded an amendment to the Pakistan Legal Practitioner & Bar Councils Act 1973 for a smooth provision of funds to the lawyers’ bodies in annual budgets of the government.

Earlier, PBC vice chairman Amjad Ali Shah said all the institutions should work within their constitutional limits. He said lawyers would be on roads if the government’s proposal to increase SC judges’ retirement age was not withdrawn.

He condemned elevation of high courts’ judges to the Supreme Court “in violation of seniority” and demanded resignation from the judges who were elevated “ignoring” seniority.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2019

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