Duty of CJP to ‘lead us all together’: Azam

Law minister says he and AGP ready to play role in resolving differences between bench and bar

Hasnaat Malik September 15, 2022
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


Amid the ongoing deadlock on the appointment of Supreme Court judges, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar on Wednesday said being the head of the institution, it was the duty of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to “lead us all together”.

Instead of giving a direct response to the CJP's observation on the government’s ‘unprecedented’ step to refuse support for judges proposed by him at the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) after the court’s judgment in the Punjab Assembly deputy speaker ruling case, the law minister offered that being a representative of the government, he and Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali were ready to play their role in resolving differences between the bench and bar.

The law minister was addressing a Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) function.

The event was arranged to distribute the allotment letters among SCBA lawyers of their plots in the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA) and the association's joint housing project, ‘Park Road Housing Scheme'.

Read more: CJP remarks elicit alarms, mixed reactions

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was the chief guest at the function, which was held in the Convention Centre.

The law minister said that he would endorse SCBA President Ahsan Bhoon in urging heads of the superior courts to maintain their traditional relationship with the bar by creating a conducive environment.

“The chief justice, who is elder as well as head of the institution, should lead us all together,” he added.

The minister said the bar had always played its constructive role in upholding the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution.

Azam added that the relations between the bar and bench were also significant as both were considered pillars of the same system that delivered justice to the citizens.

The minister stated that whenever the bar gave an opinion about judges, it raised the voice about the judiciary's betterment, transparency, impartiality. and independence.

He also said that the bar had played an important role in national politics, upholding the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution.

Earlier, responding to the CJP’s speech, SCBA President Bhoon said the bar would always raise its voice for merit-based appointment of judges in line with the seniority principle.

He added that the bar always stood for the rule of the law in the country. However, he said the chief justice was the elder of the institution and the bar would not object to his speech.

Former additional attorney general Tariq Mahmood Khokhar said the bar and bench had a chequered history, individually and in relation to each other. “The struggle for democracy and the rule of law along with party and bar politics have taken a toll on relations between the two,” he noted.

“Oddly, neither the CJP, nor the law minister had anything to say about the rifts and strife among the judges on the constitution of the benches [a matter that] is literally tearing the Supreme Court apart,” he added.

Senior lawyers also believe that the real challenge for the CJP is to receive the support of judges on the issue of appointments.

However, the lawyers are appreciating the chief justice's step to include Senior Puisne Judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa on his bench last week.

Likewise, Justice Isa has been given a three-judge bench for the first time since May 2019.

They are urging the CJP to make his efforts for evolving consensus in the appointment of judges.

If he succeeds, they add, he will be remembered as a great chief justice after his retirement.

There are two groups in bar politics. The independent group, which is known as the Asma Group, is close to ruling political parties. Presently,the same group has a majority in the superior bars and they played a key role in changing the regime in the month of April.

The law minister in his speech said on the directives of the prime minister, his ministry had changed the grant-in-aid issued for the bar councils and associations into a budgetary allocation and increased the fund from Rs100 million to Rs500 million.

He added that the government had allocated Rs1 billion for the construction of a state-of-the-art lawyers’ complex adjacent to the Islamabad High Court building.

The government has also allocated Rs4.75 billion for the construction of 30 federal courts at the same place that were situated at different locations in Lahore.


Adeel | 1 week ago | Reply

Son like father...... briefcase wala justice hamesha sy N league ki priority rahi Hy ....

Khadim Hussain | 1 week ago | Reply


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