By Rehan Piracha
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council on Monday called on the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, to place the issue of the elevation of high court judges to the apex court, on the supplementary agenda of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan’s meeting which will consider the appointment of judges to the Sindh High Court on March 16.
CJP Bandial has summoned a meeting of the JJCP on March 16 to consider nine nominees for their appointment as additional judges of the SHC. Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh has recommended nine names for the appointment of additional judges. The proposed names comprise District & Session Judge Amjad Ali Bohio and eight lawyers Mohammad Abdur Rahman, Khadim Hussain Soomro, Arbab Ali Hakro, Jawad Akbar Sarwana, Saleem Akhtar Buriro, Sana Akram Minhas, Rashid Mustafa, and Syed Tarique Ahmed Shah. Sana Akram Minhas is the lone female candidate on the list.
Reacting to the announcement of the JCP meeting, Zarbad Shah, vice chairman of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council, said unfortunately the JCP chose to ignore concerns by the KP lawyers community over the non-elevation of senior-most judges from the province to the Supreme Court for the last five years.
The KP Bar Council had demanded early convening of the JCP to consider the elevation of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and senior puisne judge Justice Roohul Amin Khan of the Peshawar High Court to the Supreme Court ahead of their retirement this month, Zarbad Shah said. “Unfortunately, the elevation of high court judges is not on the agenda of the JCP meeting on March 16,” he told Voicepk.net.
However, Zarbad Shah said the provincial council would request the CJP to place the matter of the elevation of high court judges on the supplementary agenda of the JCP meeting on March 16 to allay the concerns of the lawyers’ community in KP. The lawyers had boycotted the courts across the province on March 1 to protest the non-elevation of the judges of the Peshawar High Court to the Supreme Court.
Syed Mubashir Shah, chairman of the Executive Committee of the KP Bar Council, said the sidelining of the PHC judges for elevation has increased the sense of deprivation among the lawyers’ community in the province. He said the council would be issuing a statement to protest against the JCP meeting not considering high court judges’ elevation in the meeting on March 16.
“The lawyers’ community wanted to know why senior-most high court judges in the province are being sidelined over elevation to the apex court”, he added.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, Hassan Raza Pasha, chairman of the executive committee of the Pakistan Bar Council, said the federal council supported the KP Bar Council’s demand for the elevation of high court judges from the province. He said PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and senior puisne judge Justice Roohul Amin Khan enjoyed good reputations and both should be considered for elevation to the apex court as they were the senior-most high judges in the country.
Presently, there are 29 judges in the SHC while the total strength of the high court is 40. Similarly, there are two vacancies in the apex court. The JCP is headed by CJP Umar Ata Bandial. Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, former SC judge Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Federal Minister of Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar, Attorney General Shehzad Ata Elahi and Akhtar Hussain, representative of Pakistan Bar Council, are the other members of the JCP.