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Four LHC judges take fresh oath

August 31, 2008

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LAHORE, Aug 30: Four deposed judges of the Lahore High Court took a fresh oath on Saturday.

Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Umar Ata Bandial were “reappointed” under Article 193 of the Constitution.

They were removed under the Provisional Constitution Order on Nov 3.

LHC Chief Justice Sayed Zahid Hussain administered the oath at the committee room after holding a meeting with Chief Justice of Pakistan Abdul Hameed Dogar for over an hour.

Punjab Advocate General Khwaja Haris, Federal Law Secretary Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmad Khan and court officials attended the ceremony.

The notification said the reappointed judges “shall retain their original seniority position as it stood on Nov 2, 2007, and shall also be entitled to pensionary benefits on the basis of their original appointment as judges of the high court in accordance with Constitution and law”.

After the “reappointment”, the total strength of the LHC judges has risen to 37.

Five other deposed judges of the LHC, who did not take a fresh oath on Saturday, are Justice Khwaja Sharif, Justice Sair Ali, Justice Shahid Siddqui, Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman and Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry. Deposed Justice Arshad Jahangir had retired earlier this month.

Through a separate notification, the acting president also increased the number of LHC judges from 50 to 60 under Article 192 of the Constitution.

The reappointment of the LHC judges came three days after eight deposed judges of the Sindh High Court took a fresh oath.

Talking to Dawn, Justice (retired) Tariq Mahmood said the

Four LHC judges “reappointment” was illegal and unconstitutional because Article 190 detailed the process of fresh appointments alone.

He said the government had admitted that the removal of judges on Nov 3 last year was illegal, but it resorted to a “wrong path” for bringing them back.

He said the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz were signatory to the Charter of Democracy, in which they had declared they would not recognise any judge who would take oath under the PCO.

“When these (deposed) judges refused to take oath under the PCO on Nov 3, they should have been appreciated instead of being disgraced like this,” he said.

He added the PPP’s “pick and choose policy” did not augur well for the judiciary.

“I have been a judge and it’s only natural that such a policy would create a wedge between the sitting judges and judges who have been brought back,” he said.

To a question, he said the lawyers would face problem in carrying forward the movement because of these ‘fresh oaths’.

The remaining deposed judges of the SHC were being approached for acceptance of reappointment offer and the deposed judges of the Peshawar High Court were also likely to accept the offer, he added.