ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) executive committee is unable to take decision on the resolutions adopted by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan Bar Councils against Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar.
The matter has been referred to general house of the Supreme Court body of lawyers to take a decision on these resolutions, which is scheduled to be held on April 21. Three provincial bar councils passed resolutions in which concerns were aired over fixation of a petition against the appointment of SC judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa, no arrangement being made for a full court reference in honour of Justice (retired) Dost Muhammad Khan and the CJP’s recommendation for the elevation of Sindh High Court Judge Justice Muneeb Akhtar, who is fourth on the seniority list.
A meeting of the PBC executive committee under the chairmanship of Ghulam Shabbir Shar was held on Friday to consider the resolution adopted by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan Bar Councils. The meeting was also attended by Ghulam Shabbir Shar , Azam Nazeer Tarar, Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon, Hafeez-ur-Rehman Chaudhry, Muhammad Raheel Kamran Sheikh and Kamran Murtaza. All members belong to Independent Lawyers Group, which is also known as Asma Jahangir group.
Former PBC vice chairman Ahsan Bhoon has strongly objected to the three resolutions, sources told The Express Tribune. He said these bars have no authority to pass resolution on the conduct of the SC especially chief justice, when the petition against Justice Isa has already been rejected.
According to sources, Bhoon also gave a proposal to condemn these bars’ resolution. However, some members of the committee expressed the desire to endorse the resolutions and they were of the view that the PBC should pass a resolution over the on-going ‘judicial activism’ as well as adjudication of political matters.
Most active members of the Asma group are associated either with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) or Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N).
A senior lawyer believes that Asma group’s members who are associated with the PPP are supporting the chief justice’s stance. However, those who are close to PML-N are opposing what they see as judicial activism of the apex court.
He added that of the 23 members, the majority will endorse concerns of these three provincial bars because 11 PBC members belong to Hamid Khan Group, which is already supporting bars of the three small provinces.
On the contrary, the Lahore High Court Bar Association is supporting the chief justice’s policy on different issues. A rally of lawyers was also arranged in favour of the chief justice at Lahore on Friday. Sindh bar will organize lawyers’ representatives meeting today (Saturday) to discuss these issues.
Legal experts believe that the issues regarding Justice Isa and Justice Khan have almost been resolved but the matter related to the elevation of Justice Muneeb Akhtar in the apex court will be a big challenge for the chief justice.
It is learnt that Sindh bar associations are opposing his elevation as they believe that judge should be elevated on seniority basis. The CJP consulted three senior most SHC judges who expressed their desire to continue work in the high court. However, there are reports that one of them is objecting to the proposed elevation.
On the other hand, a section of lawyers believes that judge should be elevated on the basis of competency and reputation. They expect that the SC may further provide clarifications in Justice Isa appointment case. One Karachi based lawyer believes that there is no doubt that Justice Akhtar is competent judge. However, questions against his elevation are being raised on different grounds.
Similarly, PBC member Amjad Shah, who belongs to the KP province has condemned the suspension of sessions judge in a statement who submitted a complaint of alleged misconduct against CJP in the Supreme Judicial Council.