ISLAMABAD, July 17: Chief Justice Sheikh Riaz Ahmad said here on Wednesday Pakistan’s judiciary “is independent and dispensing justice without any fear or favour.”

Talking to newsmen at a reception, the CJ said Pakistan’s judiciary was working without any pressure from any quarter, and was deciding the cases according to its conscience, no matter who the petitioner or the respondent were.

Responding to a question that the Pakistan Bar Council has passed a resolution saying that Judiciary had ceased to be independent institution, the CJ said he had not read the PBC resolution. He, however, remarked it could be the view of the council and he would not comment on that. “I can only say this much that Pakistan’s judiciary is working independently, without any fear or favour.”

Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan, who was also present on the occasion, said the lawyers community had always been in the forefront of the struggle for political and civil rights. He, however, said if the lawyers paid more attention to their profession as being one wheel of the chariot of justice, the performance of judiciary would improve. If the lawyers paid more attention to their profession, the judiciary would be strengthened and its respect would increase.

The CJ, who inaugurated the bar room of the Pakistan Service Bar Association in the building of the Federal Service Tribunal (FST), said bureaucracy’s role for good governance was vital. Unfortunately, the constitutional protection to the bureaucracy, the CJ went on to say, was no longer there which needed to be restored. Due to lack of protection, the bureaucracy was unable to express its disagreement on any issue, the CJ added.

He said he was saddened to see that the FST was working in a commercial building and he would talk to the Law Secretary for the provision of an independent building for the FST.

The CJ said the judiciary was working overtime to clear the backlog of pending cases and the Supreme Court judges were working even during the summer vacations. At present three SC benches, he said, were working at the Lahore Registry of the apex court.

Justice Amanullah Khan (retired), Chairman of the FST, said over 12,000 cases were pending in the FST. After the amendment in relevant law, giving the right to the employees of corporations to approach the FST, the workload had increased 10 times but the building and the staff remained the same, he observed.

Abdur Rehman Siddiqui, President of the PSBA said the FST was plagued with problems and there were only seven members while the number of pending cases was 13,000.

He demanded that the number of members of the FST should be increased to 20.

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