ISLAMABAD: The Parlia­­mentary Committee on the Appointment of Judges in the superior judiciary will on Thursday (today) deliberate upon the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, for appointment of Babar Sattar and Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri as judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The committee will meet at the Parliament House at 2.30pm. Senators Azam Swati of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Farooq H. Naek of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Javed Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Sar­fraz Bugti of the Balochistan Awami Party and members of the National Assembly Ali Mohammad Khan and Mohammad Asim Nazeer of the PTI, Raja Pervez Ashraf of the PPP, Rana Sanaullah of the PML-N are members of the committee.

However, the committee has virtually become a rubber stamp after the 19th Constitution Amendment and an order of the Supreme Court.

The apex court had in its May 2011 judgement in the Munir Hussain Bhatti case disturbed the equilibrium in favour of the JCP when it ruled that the parliamentary committee should give reasons for not accepting recommendations of the commission about appointment of judges in the super­ior judiciary, otherwise its ob­­­jection would be considered as “unreasoned and arbitrary”.

The lawmakers believe that the requirement in the verdict that the scrutiny process by the parliamentary committee should be meaningful and that the recommendations of the JCP will be considered if the panel fails to give its opinion on the appointments in 14 days should be corrected.

The committee has been headless for several months and senior lawmakers have repeatedly pointed out this loophole and called for electing a regular chairman, but their advice has not been heeded, a member of the committee told Dawn.

As the committee does not have a regular chairman, its convener-ship rotates among the members and Senator Javed Abbasi is supposed to convene Thursday’s meeting.

The JCP had in its meeting on Dec 3 recommended the appointment of Mr Sattar and Mr Jahangiri as judges of the IHC.

During the JCP’s meeting, sources said, intelligence agencies submitted ‘positive’ reports for Mr Sattar. However, the agencies’ report pointed out previous affiliations of Mr Jahangiri, which the JCP had ignored.

The foreign properties of Mr Sattar were also discussed by the JCP. He is said to have six properties in the United States, besides equity of Rs171 million in these properties for which he has taken mortgage against them. Mr Sattar is also a partner in two businesses in the United Arab Emirates.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2020

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