ISLAMABAD: The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) has again postponed the deliberation on confirming the tenure of 13 additional judges of the Lahore High Court (LHC), this time until August, disclosed a source privy to the development on Wednesday.

The JCP had earlier on April 19 extended the tenure of the additional judges to another six months instead of granting confirmation to the judges. Last time these additional judges were not confirmed, as a number of members of the commission had not gone through the judgments rendered by the additional judges besides the government had also not appointed attorney general for Pakistan then.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial presided over the JCP meeting through a video link facility.

Also on June 28, a marathon session of the JCP that met to consider elevation of seven judges into the Sindh High Court (SHC) had postponed further deliberations with an understanding to reconvene after JCP’s rules committee comes out with a clear appointment criteria.

An informed source privy to the development told Dawn that the JCP decided to adjourn the deliberations until August after LHC Chief Justice Mohammad Ameer, who is proceeding to perform haj returns home.

The additional judges being considered for confirmation are: Justice Sohail Nasir, Justice Shakil Ahmad, Justice Safdar Saleem Shahid, Justice Ahmad Nadeem Arshad, Justice Mohammad Tariq Nadeem, Justice Mohammad Amjad Rafiq, Justice Abid Hussain Chattha, Justice Anwar Hussain, Justice Ali Zia Bajwa, Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmad, Justice Mohammad Raza Qureshi, Justice Mohammad Shan Gul and Justice Raheel Kamran Sheikh.

The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) had previously demanded immediate confirmation of the additional judges of the LHC who were elevated into the high court last year.

The two premier bodies of legal fraternity had demanded that the JCP consider confirmation of judges to superior judiciary on the basis of merit, competency, capability and uprightness. The judges who meet these criteria should be confirmed and practice of adhocism should be curbed forthwith. It was also the longstanding demand of the bar that the judges in the superior judiciary should not be appointed as ad-hoc judges rather they should be elevated as a permanent judge.

Representing the PBC in the JCP, Akhtar Hussain had also highlighted that confirmed judges should be appointed to permanent offices instead of initially appointing them as additional judges and then extending their term for six months or a year.

Meanwhile, a joint meeting of PBC’s coordination committee on Wednesday passed several resolutions demanding the LHC chief justice not to stop institution of cases in subordinate courts and in the high court at the principal seat as well as the circuit benches whenever the bar members go on a strike on the call of their statutory bodies such as the PBC or the Punjab Bar Council.

Likewise, the PBC unanimously condemned the instances of ‘missing persons’, especially in Balochistan, which it said reflected the mindset and acts of the rulers of colonial era. The meeting also demanded that if anyone had committed crime, they should be produced before the court of law.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2022

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