PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council on Monday flayed the non-elevation of Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth to the Supreme Court by the federal government and Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) and announced that lawyers would boycott courts across the province today (Tuesday).

The Peshawar-based lawyers observed a strike against the taking of oath by Lahore High Court Justice Syed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi as a Supreme Court judge complaining about the denial of that elevation to Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth.

KP Bar Council vice-chairman Shahid Raza Malik said Justice Waqar Seth, a competent judge, should have been elevated to the Supreme Court in light of his seniority.

He said the principle followed for the elevation of judges to the apex court was the nomination of the most senior chief justice of high courts but in the present case, a junior judge was elevated to the apex court in an ‘unconstitutional and illegal’ move.

Insist Justice Waqar should have become SC judge over seniority

Mr Malik said it was an injustice that a junior judge of the Lahore High Court was elevated to the apex court while ignoring some senior judges, including Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth.

He said when the country’s president and senior judges violated the principle of seniority, then what the people seeking justice would expect of it.

The council vice-chairman said all provinces were the units of the federation, while their rights should not be violated in such a manner.

In a news release, the KP Bar Council criticised the elevation of Justice Mazhar Naqvi to the Supreme Court declaring it an attack on independence of the judiciary.

The council announced that lawyers would not appear before any court and would pass condemnation resolutions today (Tuesday).

Justice Mazhar Ali Naqvi headed a Lahore High Court bench, which had declared unconstitutional the establishment of a special court, which convicted former president retired General Pervez Musharraf of high treason.

Currently, Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmad Ali M Sheikh is the most senior chief justice of high courts as he was appointed on Mar 15, 2017.

PHC Chief Justice Waqar Seth was appointed to the current post on Jun 28, 2018, and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Nov 28, 2018.

Current Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh took oath on Jan 1, 2020, and will retire on Mar 18, 2020.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2020