LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) on Saturday condemned an ‘objectionable’ statement of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the top regulatory body of lawyers in the country, regarding Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmad Ali Sheikh.

“The statement issued by the vice-chairman of the PBC is inappropriate and beyond facts,” said a joint statement issued by LHCBA president Maqsood Buttar, vice president Mudassai Abbas Maghiana and finance secretary Faisal Tauqir Sial.

The LHCBA leaders said that the statement of the PBC could be a personal opinion of the vice-chairman or a particular group but did not represent the whole legal fraternity.

They contended that the LHCBA had great reservation over the statement of the PBC vice-chairman. They said the legal fraternity believed in the principle of seniority for the elevation of judges to the Supreme Court.

In a statement published in the media, PBC vice-chairman Hafeezur Rehman Chaudhry opposed any move to elevate the SHC chief justice to the Supreme Court until a case about alleged irregular appointment of paralegal staff in the high court was decided.

He said Chief Justice Sheikh should not be considered for elevation to the apex court until the pending case as well as references under Article 209 of the Constitution against him were finalised.

Mr Chaudhry said the principle of seniority for elevation of judges, supremacy of the Constitution, rule of law and independence of the judiciary should be followed, but it did not mean a judge facing charges of misconduct or poor performance, specifically the SHC chief justice, who through his registrar faced the serious allegations of appointments of paralegal staff in certain districts under his supervision, by way of Article 203 of the Constitution be elevated.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2022

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