QUETTA, Aug 4 Chief Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai and all four judges of the Balochistan High Court resigned on Tuesday, creating a vacuum in the court.

BHC's acting registrar Atiqur Rehman told Dawn that applications for early retirement of the CJ and four judges — Justice Ahmed Khan Lashari, Justice Akhtar Zaman Malghani, Justice Nadir Khan Durrani and Justice Mehta Kalash Nath Kohli — had been faxed to the president.

The judges, who had taken oath under the PCO on Nov 3, 2007, have opted for early retirement apparently to avoid facing references in the Supreme Judicial Council. The references have been sent to the council in accordance with the Friday judgment of the Supreme Court.

President Asif Ali Zardari has also signed orders stopping the PCO judges from functioning.

Mr Rehman said that the judges in their letters to the president had requested for premature retirement under Article 195 of the Constitution.

The judges handed over their resignation to the registrar after a meeting in the chief justice's chamber. After that they went to the barroom and had tea with senior lawyers who praised their decision.

Justice Amanullah Yasinzai was appointed a judge in 1997. He was elevated to the position of BHC chief justice on Sept 14, 2005.

Justice Ahmed Lashari was appointed as additional judge in 2000, Justice Akhtar Malghani and Justice Nadir Durrani in 2002 and Justice Kalash Nath Kohli in 2005.

Balochistan High Court Bar Association president Shakeel Ahmed Hadi said it was for the first time in the history of the province that the BHC was without any judge. He urged the federal government to immediately appoint new judges and the chief justice.

“This is a judicial crisis and is not in the interest of judiciary and the government. The issue should be resolved as soon as possible,” he added.

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