ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court who is currently on vacations, on Monday took exception to the upcoming Judicial Commission of Pakistan’s meetings being called to elevate seven judges to the Sindh High Court and confirm 13 additional judges of the Lahore High Court.
The names of the individuals to be elevated as additional judges of the SHC on Tuesday (today) are: three district and sessions judges Amjad Ali Bohio, Muhammad Saeed Qureshi and Mohammad Abdur Rehman, advocates Khurram Rashid, Rashid Mustafa, Khadim Hussain Soomro and Arbar Ali Hakro.
Likewise, the JCP will meet on Wednesday (tomorrow) to confirm 13 additional judges of the LHC. They are: Justices Sohail Nasir, Shakil Ahmad, Safdar Saleem Shahid, Ahmad Nadeem Arshad, Muhammad Tariq Nadeem, Muhammad Amjad Rafiq, Abid Hussain Chattha, Anwar Hussain, Ali Zia Bajwa, Sultan Tanvir Ahmad, Muhammad Raza Qureshi, Muhammad Shan Gul and Raheel Kamran Sheikh.
In a three-page letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Isa took exception to the manner in which the JCP meetings have been called, saying it had become tiresome to keep what he called repeating the details of alleged manipulative and illegal conduct of Jawad Paul, the SC registrar who is also JCP secretary.
Commission to meet today, tomorrow to elevate, confirm judges of SHC and LHC in his absence
Justice Isa suggested postponing JCP meetings until the summer vacation of the apex court is over. This, he said, would also enable the JCP members to participate in the meetings and examine the documents concerning antecedents of the candidates.
But in case the meetings had to be held then a video link facility be arranged for him from Spain so that he could record his objections to what he called “illegal convening” of these meetings, he added.
The last time Justice Isa wrote a letter to CJP Bandial was on June 11 in which he had requested for removal of the JCP secretary.
In his fresh letter, Justice Isa listed 19 reasons highlighting why the upcoming JCP meetings should either have been called before or after the scheduled vacations of the Supreme Court. He reminded that the CJP himself had issued the notification about SC vacations, which was circulated to all concerned and published in the official gazette. Consequently, normal/regular work was suspended during the vacations, the letter said, highlighting that the SHC and LHC were also on summer vacations.
The 20 vacancies sought to be filled in did not suddenly occur, Justice Isa reminded, adding that they have existed for years. “Where lies the sudden need to fill them and to do so in such a tearing rush?” the letter said.
The tenure of the 13 LHC additional judges was recently extended by six months, then why has this matter been brought up again so soon afterwards; does special treatment with regard to the LHC incumbents not create unnecessary misgivings? Justice Isa asked.
“Will those in other provinces and of Islamabad not legitimately question this differential treatment? And, will this provide a pretext to those who want to create fissures in the unity of the nation?
When senior most judge always chairs one of the two committees on antecedents and competence of the candidates, then why (Justice Isa) has been denied this responsibility with regard to these nominees, the letter questioned.
Justice Isa regretted that no effort was made to contact him and find out where he was and to arrange for a video link facility to enable his virtual participation. “Is it then wrong to presume that the sole reason for calling these meetings is to ensure that I would not participate,” he wondered.
Justice Isa asked the JCP secretary to furnish the letter before the CJP and other members of the commission.
Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022