MUZAFFARABAD: The new chief justice of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Supreme Court (AJKSC) announced on Saturday that officers of the court should offer their prayers punctually, while he himself would be leading some prayers.
He said this after taking oath as the 12th chief justice of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Supreme Court.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan administered the oath of office to Chief Justice Ibrahim Zia in the President’s Secretariat. AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider was also present at the ceremony.
After taking oath, Chief Justice Zia administered oath to officers working in the Supreme Court, a first in the history of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Supreme Court.
The chief justice directed court employees to work with dedication, honesty and regularity to ensure speedy justice to the public.
He also directed them to ensure punctuality in the court and in their prayer timings.
Declaring that offering prayers was now mandatory for all employees of the AJKSC, he said that annual raises of court employees would now hinge on their offering prayers regularly and on the prescribed times. To make sure employees offer their prayers regularly, Justice Zia said they would be secretly checked by the court.
Moreover, in what he described as move to motivate the staff to offer their prayers, Justice Zia said that he would lead prayers. In this regard, communal prayers would be offered in two groups. One would be led by the chief justice while the other would be led by the AJKSC’s regular prayer leader.
The AJK government had appointed Justice Zia as the new chief justice of the valley on February 20, following the retirement of Justice Azam Khan.
Justice Zia is expected to serve as the chief justice for three years till 2020, when he retires.
Zia completed his LLB from the law college of University of Punjab in 1979 and started his law practice in Muzaffarabad in 1980.
He enrolled as an advocate of the high court in 1982 and as an advocate of the AJK Supreme Court on May 31, 1984.
He went on to serve as a member of the district bar council as well. Later, Justice Zia also served as the president and secretary general of the Central Bar Association in Muzaffarabad. He was also elected as the president of AJK’s Supreme Court Bar Association.
Apart from serving on different bar councils, Zia has also served as the chief prosecutor of the AJK Accountability Bureau in 2000 and was appointed as the Advocate General in 2009. He served in that position till April 2010.
Justice Zia was later appointed as an ad hoc Judge of the AJK Supreme Court in 2010 and was elevated as a permanent judge of the apex court on December 16, 2011.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2017.