JC approves appointments of HC judges
ISLAMABAD: The Judicial Commission (JC) approved on Saturday confirmation of the four existing additional judges of the Balochistan High Court and recommended the appointment of another three to complete the strength of the court to eight.
A meeting of the commission, presided over by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, unanimously approved the names of additional judges and appointment of fresh judges in the BHC as well as the Lahore High Court.
According to a legal source, the names proposed to be confirmed as judges of the BHC are: justices Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Syeda Tahira Safdar, Mohammad Noor Meskanzai and Ghulam Mustafa Mengal.
The three names proposed to be appointed as additional judges are: Abdul Qadir Mengal, Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Hashim Kakar.
The JC`s recommendations will now be taken up by an eight-member bipartisan Parliamentary Committee (PC) set up under the 18th and 19th Amendments.
Last Saturday, the JC had held back from recommending the appointments and confirmation of more additional judges because the composition of the judicial body was not complete as the newly-appointed Law Minister, Maula Bakhsh Chandio, had come to attend its meeting without taking oath.
A few hours before the start of the scheduled JC meeting on Saturday, Munir Ahmed Khan Kakar, chairman of the executive committee of the Balochistan Bar Council (BBC), objected to the participation of Muhammad Kamran Mulakhail as member of the JC to represent the BBC.
On April 13, the bar council had dispatched a representation in this regard to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Judicial Commission of Pakistan chairman (the chief justice), Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq, Law Minister Maula Bakhsh Chandio and the law secretary, secretary and all members of the PC, Pakistan Bar Council Vice-Chairman Latif Afridi and Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jehangir.
The BBC contended that the 18th and 19th Amendments had enabled the bar councils to play a role in the appointment of judges in superior courts. Before the 19th Amendment, the Balochistan Bar Council had nominated Muhammad Kamran Mulakhail as member of the JC from Balochistan. But after the passage of the 19th Amendment, Mr Mulakhail became eligible to continue as member of the JC because he does not have to his credit 15 years of practice in the high court.
At its March 5 meeting, the BBC had also come to the conclusion that Mr Musakhail was not eligible to represent the lawyers` highest provincial body in the JC and also brought to the notice of the JC secretary, who happens to be the Supreme Court registrar, its concerns. Instead of taking action, the representation said, the same individual was invited to attend the JC meeting. Munir Kakar sought resolution of the matter in accordance with the Constitution. Otherwise, he said, any progress made in the presence of what he called an illegal and unconstitutional nominee would not be acceptable. He also hinted at filing a petition in the Supreme Court on Monday to highlight the anomaly if the issue was not resolved.
The JC proposed the names of six district and sessions judges of Punjab as well as four lawyers to be elevated as additional judges of the LHC.
The names of district and sessions judges are: Ejaz Shah, Mohammad Younus, Kazim Raza Shamsi, Mehmood Maqbool Bajwa, Abdul Waheed Khan and Abdus Sattar Asghar. The four lawyers are: Shahzad Ghaiba, Ameenud Din Khan, Amir Bhatti and Altaf Ibrahim.
The JC also proposed to confirm 15 additional judges of the LHC, but dropped further consideration for confirmation of three incumbent additional judges – Justice Sagheer Ahmad Qadri, Justice Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmad and Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan. Similarly, the names of Justice Asad Munir and Justice Chaudhry Mohammad Tariq were not considered because they are going to retire within next three months.
The JC decided to treat separately the cases of four judges whose names were earlier not approved by the PC and later challenged in the Supreme Court which issued a verdict in their favour. They are: Justices Muhammad Yawar Ali, Syed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, Mamood Rashid Sheikh and Muhammad Farrakuh Irfan Khan.
The names of 15 LHC additional judges proposed to be confirmed are: Justices Nasir Saeed Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Sardar Tariq Masood, Ijazul Ahsan, Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Sheikh Ahmed Farooq, Chaudhry Shahid Saeed, Rauf Ahmad Shaikh, Ijaz Ahmad, Muhammad Khalid, Mehmood Khan, Shahid Hameed Dar, Muhammad Anwarul Haq, Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan and Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu.