LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti on Thursday reached superannuation after serving the institution for 13 years.

He held the office of the chief justice for two years and eight months.

He was elevated to the bench on May 12, 2011, as additional judge. Justice Bhatti was a member of a three-judge full bench that unanimously struck down in 2020 a special trial court formed to try late military dictator Gen Parvez Musharraf for high treason under Article 6 of the Constitution.

The bench, headed by Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, who recently resigned as judge of the Supreme Court, had also set aside the death penalty of Musharraf.

Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir, the third member of the bench, already retired in Dec 2022. A formal ceremony was held to send Justice Bhatti off.

Chief Justice-designate Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan presented a bouquet to Justice Bhatti.

Justice Shujaat Ali Khan, Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan, Justice Aalia Neelum, Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh and other judges attended the event.

In a statement, Punjab Bar Council Kamran Bashir Mughal said the legal fraternity boycotted a farewell dinner hosted for the outgoing Chief Justice Bhatti.

He called Justice Bhatti one of the most controversial chief justices of the LHC.

He said the relations between the bar and the bench remained strained during the stint of Justice Bhatti.

He said the bar decided against holding a traditional reference for the outgoing chief justice for, what he claimed, his attempts to divide the legal fraternity by shifting courts from city to Model Town.

Mr Mughal said the bar temporarily called off its 73-day strike with a hope that CJ-designate Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan would withdraw the ‘controversial’ notification soon after taking oath of his office.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2024

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