ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s legal fraternity and a senior judge of the apex court have raised concerns over the move to reconsider for elevation to the Supreme Court the names of three judges, months after the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) had ‘rejected’ them, with the lawyers’ community vowing to challenge any such nomination, even if approved by the JCP in its Monday meeting.
Not only the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Sindh Bar Council (SBC) have expressed concern through resolutions, but Justice Qazi Faez Isa in a letter also wondered why the names of three individuals were being repeated when already rejected by JCP in its last meeting on July 28. Therefore, he believed, Monday’s meeting is not in accordance with the law.
The JCP meeting has been called by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umer Ata Bandial to consider the nomination of Justice Shahid Waheed of Lahore High Court, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shafi Siddiqui of Sindh High Court, besides Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah, for their elevation to the apex court.
Justice Isa believes JCP meeting not in accordance with law
Bar councils have no objection to Justice Minallah’s nomination but expressed concern over the nomination of other candidates who, they believed, had already been ‘rejected’.
The JCP members, including PBC’s Akhtar Hussain, who represent their respective bar councils, adopted a resolution in this regard and sent its copies to all other members of the commission, vowing to challenge before relevant court if such nominations were approved in Monday’s meeting. They also issued a strike call for Monday, suggesting boycott of court proceedings across Sindh.
In a joint statement, PBC Vice Chairman Hafeez-ur-Rehman Chaudhry and SCBA President Ahsan Bhoon expressed serious concern and disapproval over the nomination of the three ‘junior judges’ from the LHC and SHC.
Asking the JCP to stop the practice of pick and choose for elevation to the SC, with the warning that the legal fraternity would resist it with full force if it was not shunned, they asserted that such nominations demoralise other judges of the high courts and adversely affect their work and recalled how some JCP members had voted against such nominations of junior judges.
The resolution adopted by the SBC and signed by 15 different bar leaders expressed dismay to nominate only two judges from the SHC for elevation to the SC whereas three vacancies in the SC were created with the retirement of judges from Sindh namely ex-CJP Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah. The resolution regretted that with this move, the number of judges from Punjab would go up to eight at the expense of those from Sindh.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2022