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LAHORE, April 6: An all Pakistan lawyers’ representatives convention on Saturday questioned the address of Chief Justice of Pakistan to returning officers in Hyderabad and termed it an attempt to influence the process of the upcoming general election.

The Lahore High Court Bar Association had hosted the convention to seek suggestions from bars of the country mainly on the issue of judges’ appointments in superior judiciary.

Pakistan Bar Council Vice-Chairman Syed Kalbe Hasan, its members Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon and Azam Nazir Tarar, Supreme Court Bar Association secretary Javed Iqbal Raja, former president of the bar Asma Jahangir, Balochistan Bar Council’s executive committee chairman Munir Kakar, and Balochistan High Court Bar Association president Zahoor Shahwani were among the prominent participants in the convention.

Elected representatives of many district bar associations also attended the event.

The participants demanded that the polls process should not be influenced by any quarter and the Election Commission of Pakistan should be allowed to hold the elections in an independent and fair manner.

They said the CJP had no moral justification to address the ROs and resolved that such actions should not be done in future.

The convention further resolved that appointments of judges should be made purely on merit and with the proper consultation of bars’ representatives in Judicial Commission. It also demanded that right to appeal in suo motu cases should be given to aggrieved party. The convention demanded of the government to ensure early recovery of former advocate general Balochistan Salahuddin.

Earlier addressing the convention, Kalbe Hasan said the superior judiciary should bring transparency in the appointment process of judges. He said the representatives of bars in the JC should be duly consulted before recommending names for judges. He alleged that the vacancies in the superior judiciary were being filled on personal liking and disliking.

Asma Jahangir said the judiciary had power to intervene in the affairs of ECP. She said the CJP by addressing the returning officers had tried to influence the election process. She said Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution reflected dictatorial mindset in the country.

Ms Jahangir said lawyers wanted timely elections for continuation of democratic process in the country. Slamming intrusive questions asked by the ROs from the candidates, she hailed a restraining order issued by the LHC.

LHCBA president Abid Saqi said the judicial officers should have been properly trained before their appointment as returning officers. He said the ROs had no right to humiliate the candidates by asking personal questions.