The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) has sought additional information from the people nominated to be appointed to the Lahore High Court (LHC) as additional judges in order to assess their competence and in a bid to make the judges appointment process more effective.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed has summoned a meeting of the JCP on January 12 to review credentials of the 16 people nominated by LHC Chief Justice Qasim Muhammad Khan. Out of the 16 nominees, 13 are lawyers and three are sessions court judges.
The lawyers include Shan Gul, Ahmed Raza, Ali Zia Bajwa, Abid Chatta, Tanvir Sultan, Hassan Makhdoom, Raheel Kamran Sheikh, Iftikhar Mian, Intkhab Hussain Shah, Tariq Nadeem, Amjad Rafique, Rana Asif Saeed and Sarfraz Ahmed Cheema.
Shan Gul and Ahmed Raza currently serve as Punjab additional advocate general and Punjab additional prosecutor respectively. The three session judges are Irfan Ahmad Saeed, Humayun Imtiaz and Safdar Saleem Shahid.
Sources revealed to The Express Tribune that a subcommittee of the JCP has asked the 13 lawyers to furnish copy of ten best pleadings in high court – in case of petitioner/plaintiff, copy of the writ petition/suit and in case of respondents/defendants, copy of written statement/joinder.
The commission also asked them to share the number of their Supreme Court cases/appearances to-date; subject-matter of each case and result of every case. The JCP also asked nominees to furnish their reported judgments of the Supreme Court.
Senior lawyers welcomed the development which they said will make the appointment process more effective. They also gave credit to CJ Gulzar Ahmed for taking various steps aimed at ensuring transparency in the appointment of judges.
There has been more openness in the JCP proceedings during the tenure of the incumbent chief justice.
Lawyers also appreciated Justice Umar Ata Bandial who being a member of JCP always ensures that there should not be any discrepancy in financial record of the candidates for judicial positions.
They also lauded Justice Qazi Faez Isa who as a member of the commission always gives suggestions to make the appointment process more transparent and uninfluenced by the powers that be.
It was Justice Isa who had questioned the validity of unsigned intelligence agencies’ reports about the nominees. Later, the JCP agreed that unsigned reports will not be placed before the commission.
During the JCP meeting for appointment of two additional judges to the Islamabad High Court, Justice Isa suggested that a mechanism might be evolved to have candidates available at the JCP meetings.
This would help the commission seek a prompt reply from them if needed, he said. According to the minutes of the meeting, JCP Chairman Gulzar Ahmed had appreciated Justice Isa’s suggestion.
“We need to structure this into a proper mechanism [so that] the commission should have an opportunity to see and question the candidate,” the CJ had reportedly said.
An exercise was previously done while making the appointment of a judge in the Federal Shariat Court. “Justice Mushir Alam may design a mechanism regarding this,” he said, according to the minutes of the meeting.
It is expected that the commission may summon candidates for judicial positions at the LHC at any stage in order to clarify queries related to them.
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