AJK judicial crisis gets more complicated

Rizwan Akram April 22, 2010

MIRPUR: The judicial crisis brewing in AJK seems to be taking a turn for the bizarre.

The Supreme Judicial Council constituted by AJK president Raja Zulqernain headed by deposed chief justice Reaz Akhtar Chaudhry conducted an in-absentia hearing of sitting chief justice Manzoor Gilani and has sent off its findings for implementation to the chairman of the AJK council, Pakistani premier Yousaf Raza Gilani. On April 5, AJK president had ordered Manzoor Gilani and Muzaffarabad High Court chief justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal to appear before the SJC.

The hearing was conducted in Mirpur and comes a few days after Reaz Chaudhry refused to attend the hearing of a similar SJC hearing in Muzaffarabad. That hearing was to be before the SJC set up by AJK prime minister Raja Farooq Haider and was headed by sitting CJ Manzoor Gilani. Earlier, premier Haider laid emphasis on the need for implementing the recommendations of SJC regarding the reference of misconduct against deposed chief justice Reaz Chaudhry.

Talking to a joint delegation of Azad Kashmir Bar Council and Supreme Court Bar Association here Thursday, he said that chairman Kashmir Council is bound under the Interim Constitutional Act 1974 to forward the recommendations of the SJC to the president of AJK who will then act accordingly. Some forces are trying to keep the recommendations of SJC pending but this is a constitutional obligation, which cannot be ignored, Haider said.

The premier said that he would foil any bid to deviate the constitution and will not compromise on this legal issue at any cost. “The constitutional matters could not be solved in political meetings,” he added. The lawyers’ fraternity on the occasion apprised the AJK prime minister of their reservations regarding honoring recommendations of the SJC. Most lawyers supporting Manzoor Gilani have also expressed their determination to take the issue to the Supreme Court of Pakistan if the matter is not resolved soon. The delegation was headed by the president Central Bar Association Shahid Bhar, secretary- general SCBA Raza Ali Khan and president Peoples Lawyers forum Mushtaq Janjua.