JC approves Justice Ijaz as LHC chief justice
By Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD: The Judicial Commission, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, on Saturday approved the name of Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry to succeed Justice Khwaja Mohammad Sharif, Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court, who is due to reach superannuation on Dec 8.
The second meeting this month of the seven-member commission was attended by eleven individuals since the matter involved the appointment of chief justice of a high court.
They were: Justice Javed Iqbal and Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan of the Supreme Court, LHC Chief Justice Khwaja Mohammad Sharif, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, former SC judge Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed, Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq, federal Law Minister Babar Awan, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Khalid Ranjha of the Pakistan Bar Council and Rai Bashir of the Punjab Bar Council.
According to the rules approved by the JC in its first meeting on Nov 6, the CJP will initiate nominations for appointment of judges in the Supreme Court or chief justices in the Federal Shariat Court and high courts.
The nomination of Justice Ijaz will be discussed by a yet to be established eight-member Parliamentary Committee. Four members from the Senate (two each from the treasury and the opposition) and two opposition members from the National Assembly for the committee have been appointed.
However, the government has yet to appoint two members of the treasury benches in the National Assembly.
Senator Kazim Khan, who is also a vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, and Senator Nayyar Bokhari will represent the government, while PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and PML-N’s Ishaq Dar will represent the opposition in the committee. Sardar Mehtab Abbasi of the PML-N and Ghaus Bux Mehar of the PML-Q will represent the opposition from the National Assembly.
The Supreme Court’s interim order of Oct 21 on petitions challenging the 18th Amendment said: “The proceedings of the PC will always be held in camera, but a record of the proceedings will be prepared and maintained by the PC’s secretary duly certified by the chairman under his hand.”
Justice Ijaz Chaudhry was one of the judges to have been sacked after Nov 3, 2007, emergency imposed by former president Pervez Musharraf.
He was reinstated as judge of the LHC after President Asif Zardari issued a notification to restore the sacked judges on March 16 last year.
Justice Ijaz had also served as assistant advocate general of Punjab from 1988 to 1995 and as additional advocate general of the province from 1999 to 2001.
He was elevated to LHC on May 2, 2001. He will retire on Dec 14, 2012, if he is not elevated to the Supreme Court.
An informed source told Dawn that the JC, in its third meeting expected after Eid holidays, would discuss a replacement for Justice Rehmat Hussain Jaffery, a judge of the Supreme Court who will reach superannuation on Nov 20.
32 JUDGES: The commission is also likely to decide the fate of 32 additional judges of the four high courts, who have completed their tenure but continue to function because of the stay granted by the Supreme Court during the pendency of petitions challenging the 18th Amendment.
The JC may also discuss appointments of judges in the Islamabad High Court, which is likely to start working on Dec 13.
On May 11, the National Assembly had adopted a bill for the establishment of a seven-judge IHC under the 18th Amendment.
The IHC was originally set up through an ordinance under the Nov 3, 2007, emergency proclamation, but ceased to exist after the Supreme Court on July 31 last year declared the emergency unconstitutional.