ISLAMABAD: The Parli­a­mentary Committee on the Appointment of Judges on Friday ratified the Judicial Commission of Pakistan’s recommendations, allowing Justice Aamer Farooq to ass­ume the office of the chief justice of Islamabad High Court as well as elevation of Justice Athar Minallah to the Supreme Court.

However, the eight-member bipartisan panel, hea­ded by Dr Fehmida Mirza of the Grand Democratic Alli­ance, surprisingly deferred the consideration of JCP’s recommendation in respect of two other judges for their elevation to the apex court.

Justice Shahid Waheed of the Lahore High Court and Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi of the Sindh High Co­u­rt (SHC) will be considered for promotion to the Sup­reme Court “at a later stage”.

Interestingly, the agenda was to discuss the elevation of Justice Farooq only, as the names of Justice Minal­lah, Justice Waheed and Justice Rizvi had to come up for discussion at the parliamentary committee’s meeting to be held on Nov 10. But the agenda of the Nov 10 meeting was also taken up on Friday and it was decided to elevate Justice Minallah as judge of the Supreme Court. The committee decided to defer the consideration of other two judges until Nov 10.

Friday’s meeting was attended by five members of the committee — Muhammad Asim Nazir and Senators Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, Rana Maqbool Ahmed and Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti.

Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, Syed Naveed Qamar and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan could not attend the meeting.

Legal circles expressed surprise over the sudden calling of the agenda, which was reserved for the Nov 10 meeting, and then dropping of other two recommendations.

On Oct 24, the JCP after a prolonged meeting of three and a half hours had unanimously approved elevation of Justice Minallah to the Supreme Court. It gave a divided nod to Justice Waheed and Justice Rizvi — both fourth on the seniority list of their respective courts — with a majority of five to four votes, but dropped outright the suggestion regarding Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui of the SHC.

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2022

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