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Lawyers reject appointment of ad hoc judges in SC

06 May, 2012

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LAHORE: The top bar associations of the country on Saturday held a meeting in which they rejected appointment of ad hoc judges in the Supreme Court.

The meeting, which was attended by representatives of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Supreme Court Bar Association, Lahore High Court Bar Association, Sindh Bar Council, Balochistan Bar Council, Peshawar High Court Bar Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council and Punjab Bar Council, also demanded their representation in the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) for the appointment of superior court judges.

PBC Vice Chairman (VC) Akhtar Hussain, who chaired the meeting, told a press conference later that the lawyers' leaders unanimously rejected the proposal of appointment of acting or ad hoc judges in the Supreme Court, particularly in view of the fact that the post of a permanent judge was lying vacant in the apex court since several months.

On the question of disqualification of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, he said that the prime minister should have resigned after his conviction, but constitutionally and legally he had the right of appeal and was still the constitutional and legal head of the government.

"If the prime minister lodges an appeal an eight-member bench of the Supreme Court can hear it," he said, adding that appointment of ad hoc judges was not necessary for this. He said the president had the right to approve the appointment of ad hoc judges in the Supreme Court with the consent of the prime minister, but this could create a deadlock. He noted that the Supreme Court had already stated in the Al-Jihad Trust case that ad hoc appointments should not be made.

On the JCP, Hussain said it was formed after a 60-year-long struggle by lawyers and its proceedings should be made transparent, and all stakeholders, including bar councils' representatives, should also be consulted while making new appointments. He said the commission's activities should be made transparent to strengthen it, and demanded that the minutes of meetings of the JCP should be made available to its members in accordance with Article 19-A of the constitution, which guarantees freedom of information.

The PBC VC said lawyers' leaders had also demanded amendment in the commission's rules so that any of its members could put forward or propose names for elevation to the bench. He said before making nominations, the representatives of bar councils should be taken into confidence to help protect the commission from criticism.

Hussain also said that an eight-member committee headed by him has been constituted to meet with the chief justice of Pakistan prior to the meeting of the JCP, which is scheduled to be held tomorrow (Monday), in order to place their demands and proposals. He said that the committee had also been empowered to meet with the heads of political parties, including President Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and others to resolve the present political deadlock.

He said that to improve the present situation all the parties should have political commitment. He said they should set aside petty differences and strive to bring improvement in the country. The lawyers representatives, he added, had expressed serious concern over the deteriorating law and order situation of the country and deplored the government's failure to control the situation. He said the situation in Balochistan had worsened and the government has not taken any steps to check violence and human rights violations in the province.

He deplored the situation in Lyari and said it was the responsibility of the government to bring peace in Karachi which, he said, was a result of political rivalry. He demanded that all state institutions should work under the constitution and should not erode each other's authority.

End.

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