ISLAMABAD: While the appointment of prominent lawyers Babar Sattar and Tariq Jahangiri to the office of Additional Judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) sailed smoothly through the Pakistan Judicial Commission (JCP) on 3 December, when it meets on 17 December, the bipartisan parliamentary committee may witness a stormy session on the subject.
Some quarters are not pleased with the nominations and it is expected that concerns will be presented at the parliamentary panel meeting over the nominations, a highly placed source said.
“The source feared that it seems as if the whole system is opposed to independent minds, adding the elevation of one of the two lawyers as an IHC judge was resisted as he was considered as someone who “thinks differently without being impaired by circumstances.
The eight-member legislative committee is scheduled to meet in the House of Parliament at 2:30 pm on December 17. Its members are: PPP Senator Farooq H. Naek, PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi, PTI Senator Azam Swati, BAP Senator Sarfraz Bugti and PPP National Assembly Member Raja Pervez Ashraf, PML-N Senator Rana Sanaullah, PTI Ali Mohammad Khan and PTI Mohammad Asim Nazeer.
JCP to consider 16 individuals for appointment in LHC on Jan 12
It is suspected that Mr. Sattar’s international financial interests may draw the attention of the parliamentary committee, since the topic has been addressed by the JCP and also by Justice Umar Ata Bandial’s committee of antecedents.
In addition to the equity of Rs171 million in these properties for which he has taken a mortgage against these assets, Mr Sattar is said to have six properties in the United States. Moreover, Mr. Sattar is also a partner in two United Arab Emirates companies.
A similar situation had also occurred during a meeting of the parliamentary panel in November 2018 when the elevation to the office of then-Justice Athar Minallah’s IHC chief justice was addressed.
There was an impression among the lawmakers that the judgement of the Supreme Court in the case of Munir Hussain Bhatti in May 2011 had practically upset the balance in favour of the JCP when the court ruled that the parliamentary committee should give reasons for not approving the commission’s recommendation on the selection of judges in the superior judiciary.
In the decision, the legislators found that the condition that the parliamentary committee’s review process should be substantive and that the JCP’s recommendations must be considered if the panel failed to give its opinion on the appointments in 14 days had to be corrected.
The JCP will also meet on January 12 to discuss the selection of 16 people to the Lahore High Court as judges (LHC).
Punjab Attorney General Mohammad Shan Gul, Punjab Assistant Attorney General Mohammad Tariq Nadeem, Barrister Sultan Tanvir Ahmad, Mohammad Sarfraz Cheema, Ali Zia Bajwa, Iftikhar Ahmad Mian, Ahmad Nadeem Arshad, Hassan Nawaz Makhdoom, Mohammad Asif Saeed Rana, Abid Hussain Chattha, Raheel Kamran Sheikh, Syed Intikhab Hussain Shah, Additional Attorney General M
At present, 40 judges are working against the authorised strength of 60 judges in the LHC.
The JCP is considering the appointment of judges in the high court after a delay of two years.
With nearly 200,000 pending lawsuits, the LHC judges are overworked, which according to the source, also affects their fitness.
He said the individuals being considered for promotion as judges could be summoned for consultation by the JCP at its meeting if the constitutional body required any clarity.
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It is not clear, though, whether all attorneys will be named or simply those against which those questions will need to be explained.
The need for a suitable process was felt during the last meeting of the JCP so that applicants being considered for the posts of Judges of the Superior Judiciary could be eligible in the immediate vicinity where the meeting is pending. As requested by the JCP at its meeting, this may help to obtain urgent clarity or clarification about a nominee.
Earlier, at its meeting in 2016, the JCP considered the names of 16 attorneys, eight of whom were appointed as additional judges. Similarly, the JCP considered a group of eight other people in 2018, of which one retired after being designated as an additional judge and seven others were subsequently confirmed as full LHC judges.