ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court Justice Athar Minallah on Monday paid a surprise visit to the district courts of Islamabad.

Justice Minallah visited the courtrooms of the district and sessions divisions east and west at the start of the working hours. However, many of the lower courts judges were not present.

The staff of the ‘absent’ judges informed Justice Minallah that the judicial officers were on leave.

The chief justice sought a report from the district and sessions judges of east and west division over the ‘absence’ of judges.

Senior lawyers have pointed out on a number of occasions that the lower courts judges leave their respective courts early on Saturday and resume their courtrooms late on Monday.

The courts timing starts at 8:30am, however, four judges of the session division west and about 10 judges of the session division east were not present in their respective courtroom when Justice Minallah visited there soon after the start of the working hours.

Justice Minallah also visited police lockup commonly known as Bakhshi Khana where under trial prisoners (UTPs) are kept temporarily on the date of their trial or remand.

He expressed displeasure as the UTPs were also not present there since the police could not bring them on time.

Moreover, Justice Minallah also took notice of the environment of the Bakhshi Khana and overall situation in the district courts and sought a report from the relevant district and sessions judges.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2020