PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan has expressed concern over the “non-consideration” of judges from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for their elevation to the Supreme Court.

A PHC official on Wednesday confirmed that Justice Khan had written to Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa.

In the four-page letter, Justice Khan, who is retiring on April 14, states, “I am writing to your Lordship with a heavy heart and a sense of disillusionment in relation to prima facie arbitrariness, discrimination and favouritism in the appointment of judges in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.”

“There were four vacancies in the Supreme Court but only one vacancy was filled by appointing my brother Honourable Judge Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan of Balochistan High Court, the then Chief Justice Balochistan High Court,” the letter states.

“It was a profound disappointment when I learnt that only one judge and that too from your own province, was appointed in the Supreme Court despite the fact that there were four vacancies. I am genuinely happy for my brother Mr Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan but why my candidacy was not considered notwithstanding my seniority, eligibility and availability of vacancies in the Supreme Court,” he further states.

“I am the second senior-most Chief Justice among the Chief Justices of all High Courts in Pakistan. I am also a member of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) and Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan. I had legitimate expectation that my candidature would be at least included in the list for consideration to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” he stated, adding that had he not been found fit to be appointed as a judge of the apex court after due process by the JCP he would have happily accepted the JCP’s decision.

Justice Ibrahim Khan writes, “The taxpayers, who pay for our salaries, expect that vacancies are filled immediately so that the court may operate at full strength and dispense justice. There is a duty to act diligently.

“This decision of solitary appointment has left me perplexed and seeking genuine answers. I have been thinking about possible reasons for not filling the vacancies but no logical and persuasive reason could come to mind.”

Justice Khan said he had been faithfully serving for the past 31 years, characterised by steadfast commitment, dedication, and numerous contributions that, in his opinion, not only benefited the community but also upheld the highest standards of the judicial system.

He maintained, “Throughout my service, I have endeavoured to embody the virtues of integrity, impartiality, and a steadfast commitment to justice, principles I believed would naturally pave the way for recognition and career advancement based on merit.

“I appreciate that decisions of appointing judges in the superior courts are complex and multifaceted, involving considerations that may not always be apparent to all. Nevertheless, in the spirit of transparency, the norms of fairness, and the continued trust in our judicial system, I take the honour to question as to what prompted the solitary elevation of my brother Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan when three vacancies were and are still vacant whereas none other was considered,” he questioned.

“It is also mind-boggling that presently, there are three honourable judges in the Supreme Court of Pakistan from Balochistan whereas from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there are only two honourable judges therefore, while comparing the two provinces on any analogy whatsoever, desirably there would be one more vacancy for the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”

Justice Ibrahim Khan has also sent copies of the letter to the four senior judges of the Supreme Court.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...
More pledges
Updated 25 May, 2024

More pledges

There needs to be continuity in economic policies, while development must be focused on bringing prosperity to the masses.
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...