The Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment on Friday approved the elevation of Sindh High Court junior judge Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar to the Supreme Court by a majority vote.
PPP member Raja Pervez Ashraf endorsed the nomination, while two PML-N lawmakers opposed it and supported the stance of the apex regulatory body of lawyers, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), on the matter.
The eight-member parliamentary committee met under the chairmanship of Farooq H Naek in parliament to consider Justice Mazhar's elevation to the apex court.
It is learnt that four lawmakers belonging to the government supported the nomination while Ashraf also endorsed his appointment as a top court judge.
However, PML-N lawmakers Azam Nazeer Tarar and Rana Sanaullah opposed the nomination and supported the bar's stance against the elevation of judges to the Supreme Court in violation of the seniority principle.
Sources earlier told The Express Tribune that Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice (retd) Dost Muhammad Khan and PBC representative Akhtar Hussain had opposed the nomination of Justice Mazhar to the apex court on several grounds.
The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on June 28 approved the nomination of Justice Mazhar to the apex court with a majority vote amid a protest by the PBC.
The JCP had approved the nomination of Justice Mazhar, 5th in the SHC seniority, with five members endorsing the move and four opposing it. It was the first time in the commission’s history that four of its members opposed the elevation of a judge to the apex court.
Sources told The Express Tribune that after a lengthy debate, the committee by a majority vote approved Justice Mazhar's nomination.
In statement issued last month, PBC Vice Chairman Khush Dil Khan had noted that the SHC judge in question was being elevated to the SC while ignoring the first four senior most judges of the high court.
He admitted that seniority was not the only criteria for elevation to the top court and that other aspects like competence, uprightness, integrity, performance and ability are also kept in mind while elevating a judge to the Sc.
“Now the question arises whether all the four senior hon’ble judges of the SHC lack the above said criteria to be elevated to the apex court of Pakistan?” he noted.
According to Khan, the elevation of a junior judge was not only against the spirit of the Supreme Court judgment in the Al-Jehad Trust case but also against the expectations of the senior most judge of the SHC. “It will demoralise the senior judges of the high courts,” he added.
In the same statement, the PBC office-bearer hailed the decision to elevate the Balochistan High Court (BHC) chief justice to the Supreme Court.
“I appreciate the move for elevation of the chief justice of the BHC to the Supreme Court of Pakistan being the senior most and well deserving to be elevated in all respects,” he said.
“It is for the first time in the country’s judicial history that an [ethnic] Baloch judge from Balochistan is being elevated to the apex court of Pakistan.”
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ