Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed has summoned a meeting of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on July 6 to consider the appointment of three additional judges in the Peshawar High Court.
Sources revealed to The Express Tribune that a meeting of the JCP has been summoned for job confirmation of Justice Naeem Anwar, Justice Sahibzada Asadullah and Justice Waqar Ahmad.
At present, the PHC has 15 judges against a total strength of 20. Currently, there is only one female judge in the PHC. Overall, there are five female judges working in the superior courts of the country.
A senior official told The Express Tribune that after the merger of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in 2018, there is a need to increase the number of the PHC judges.
It is learnt that the backlog of cases is increasing after the Fata merger. After the merger, five million people of the former tribal areas are now residents of K-P, whose population is now almost equal to the population of Sindh – the country’s second-most populous province after Punjab.
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He pointed out that the total strength of the Sindh High Court (SHC) judges is 40.
According to sources, the chief justice of Pakistan has asked the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan secretary to take up the matter regarding increasing the number of judges in the PHC with the executive. The judges’ posts can be enhanced through legislation as well as through a presidential order.
A senior lawyer lamented that despite making promises, the PTI-led government has failed to introduce reforms in the justice system. “It seems that senior civil servants are not interested in enhancing the number of judges,” he added.
Last week, PTM MNA Mohsin Dawar also presented a bill in the National Assembly for an increase in the number of judges of the PHC. The PHC is already dealing with a backlog of cases that has increased after the 25th Amendment and merger of erstwhile Fata with K-P. The bill has been referred to the relevant standing committee. PHC Registrar in a recent news conference also desired for increasing the number of judges of the high court.
The bill proposed to increase the number of PHC judges from 20 to 30.