Seven additional PHC judges take oath today -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Seven additional PHC judges take oath today

By Ghulam Dastageer

PESHAWAR: With administering of oath of office to seven additional judges set for today (Monday), the strength of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) will jump to 18 with no representation from the subordinate judiciary among the recently elevated adjudicators.

PHC Chief Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan will administer the oath to the new judges at Courtroom-I of the Peshawar High Court at 9:30am. The new additional judges of the PHC are: Sher Muhammad Khan, Abdus Samad Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Sardar Shaukat Hayat, Ziaur Rahman Khan, Syed Sajjad Husain and Yahya Afridi.

Presently, only three judges of PHC, Justice Attaullah Khan, Justice Muhammad Safdar Khan Sikandari and Justice Miftahuddin Khan, hail from the subordinate judiciary while the remaining 15 are from the bar.

Among them Justice Jehan Zaib Rahim is not performing duties, as his case is pending before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for taking oath under void ab initio-declared Provincial Constitution Order (PCO) of November 3, 2007.

Ignoring the bench in the new elevations has caused heartburning to the judicial officers, who say that it is sheer injustice with them to end up as a district and sessions judge after serving as judicial officer for about 30 to 35 years.

“On the one hand, we’re drawing about three-time less salaries as compared to our counterparts in the Punjab and on the other hand we’re deprived of our share in the superior courts,” a disgruntled judicial officer told The News while requesting anonymity.

“How will it be possible for us to do justice with our profession when we’re confronted with the issue of meagre salaries as well as indifferent attitude of our high-ups?” he queried. He remarked that the share of the bench in the present lot of superior court judges was 16 per cent, adding that during the dictatorial rule of General (R) Musharraf it was roundabout 50 per cent.

Another judicial officer, who also wished not to be named, said Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had showered praise on judges of subordinate judiciary of the NWFP.

“But when it comes to facilitating the judicial officers in terms of salary and elevations, the role of superior judiciary is regrettably very unappreciable,” he said making a reference to the recent raise in the salaries of adjudicators of the superior courts.

He added: “There’s no direct induction on regular posts of grade-20 in the whole country except judiciary where one-third quota has been allocated for practicing lawyers.” But, he noted, no such quota has been specified for judicial officers in the high courts and it has been left to the sweet will of the chief justice of high court.

The judicial officers said they could not raise voice at any forum in absence of any association, adding that they were seriously mulling setting up an association, which could protect the rights of the judges of the subordinate judiciary.

Profiles of the additional judges: Seven additional judges of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) will take oath today (Monday). They include Sher Muhammad Khan, Abdus Samad Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Sardar Shaukat Hayat, Ziaur Rahman Khan, Syed Sajjad Hussain Shah and Yahya Afridi, all hailing from the lawyer community.

Sher Muhammad Khan: Born in Maindam area of Swat district on June 4, 1953 he did his Matriculation from Mingora in 1969, FSc in 1971 while graduating as a private candidate in 1976. He became a law graduate in 1979 and got the licence to practice in lower courts in 1979. He qualified the criteria to plead cases as a lawyer in high court and Supreme Court in 1985 and 2010, respectively. He is considered to be an expert on cases of civil, criminal, labour and services. Side by side as a practising lawyer, he is also known as an active human rights activist. Presently, he was serving as the vice-chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

It was his second stint to head the HRCP in NWFP. He also served the orphanage in Swat namely Khpal Kor as legal adviser besides remaining a member of the board of governors of Excelsior College Swat.

Abdus Samad Khan: Wrongly quoted as Abdus Samad Khan Bannu, he belongs to Marmandi Azeem village in Sarai Norang, Lakki Marwat. Born on March 27, 1953 he did his Matriculation from Bannu. Probably due to this reason people added ‘Bannu’ to his name.

He passed LLB examination from Gomal University in 1980 and got the licence for lower courts practice on December 18, 1980 and licence to practice at PHC in 1983. He got the licence to practice in Supreme Court in 1995.

He was enrolled as senior judge of the Supreme Court in 2008, the only judge among the new judges having title of senior judge. He rejected the offer to become the judge of PHC under the PCO of November 3, 2007. As a lawyer, he is believed to have command on cases relating to constitution, civil and criminal nature.

Imtiaz Ali: A native of Peshawar, he was born to a Hindko-speaking family on November 16, 1953. He passed the examination of Matric in 1970 and LLB in 1977. He served the NWFP government as additional advocate general from 1998 to 2004. He is an adept in cases pertaining to constitutional, civil and services matters.

Sardar Shaukat Hayat: Basically belonging to Dera Ismail Khan, he was born in Swabi on November 10, 1952. He passed the Matriculation from Swabi in 1967/68. He got the bachelor’s degree from Edwardes College Peshawar in 1972. After that he did master’s in History from University of Peshawar in the session 1973-74. Later, he did LLB in the year 1977. The same year he got the licence to practice in the lower courts. Likewise, he got the licence of high court in 1982. He served the NWFP government as additional advocate general twice-from 2001 to 2004 and 2006 to 2008. He also remained the vice president of the Peshawar High Court Bar Association for the session 1985-86.

Ziaur Rahman: He was the advocate general of the NWFP when elevated to the PHC as judge. He is affiliated to the lawyers’ wing of the Awami National Party, Malgaree Wakeelan.

Syed Sajjad Hussain Shah: He is a senior lawyer from Mansehra district. Yahya Afridi: Born in 1965, he is the youngest among the seven elevated judges. He belongs to Kohat district and served as assistant advocate general of NWFP in early ‘90s. He is considered to be one of competent lawyers of the Frontier province.
Source: The News