Bar mem­bers threaten to lock court rooms if ‘cor­rupt el­e­ments not re­moved’

All is not well with IHC af­fairs?

Pakistan Observer - - TWIN CITIES -

ZUBAIR QURESHI ISLAMABAD—The Islamabad High Court Bar As­so­ci­a­tion (IHCBA) on Satur­day warned of lock­ing of the court rooms and sus­pend­ing the courts pro­ceed­ings if cor­rupt el­e­ments in the ju­di­ciary are not elim­i­nated. In a press con­fer­ence, the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the IHCBA and the district bar as­so­ci­a­tion of Islamabad claimed that the 2.2 mil­lion peo­ple of the fed­eral cap­i­tal and their prop­er­ties worth tril­lion of ru­pees are at the mercy of a ju­di­cial sys­tem which is “over­look­ing the cor­rupt prac­tices”.

Cit­ing sev­eral res­o­lu­tions passed by the district bar as­so­ci­a­tion of Islamabad, IHCBA and the Islamabad Bar Coun­cil (IBC) against the cor­rupt of­fi­cials within the ju­di­ciary, Mo­ham­mad Waqas Ma­lik gen­eral sec­re­tary IHCBA warned that the lawyers would lock the court rooms and the ju­di­cial busi­ness would re­main at stand­still till the elim­i­na­tion of cor­rupt of­fi­cials.

Mr Ma­lik also called upon the Supreme Court to an­nounce ver­dict on pe­ti­tion which chal­lenged in­duc­tion in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that too with­out ad­her­ing to the pre­scribed rules and the pro­ce­dure laid down by the apex court.

He said that the Chief Jus­tice of Pak­istan in Septem­ber last year had as­sured that the judges of sub­or­di­nate ju­di­ciary of prov­inces would be re­placed un­der a ro­ta­tion pol­icy, adding that the IHC ad­min­is­tra­tion is yet to fi­nal­ize the said pol­icy. Ma­lik crit­i­cized scrap­ping of Rs38 mil­lion Data Cen­ter Project of the IHC say­ing that it would have been more ap­pro­pri­ate had the fate of the project would be de­cided by the ad­min­is­tra­tion com­mit­tee of the IHC which com­prises of the Chief Jus­tice and two se­nior judges of the court.

He ex­pressed reser­va­tions over the re-com­po­si­tion of the meet­ing of the ad­min­is­tra­tion com­mit­tee at a time when it was dis­cussing a 10-point agenda which in­cluded the mat­ters re­lated to the re-em­ploy­ment of IHC regis­trar Atiqur Rehman after re­tire­ment, cases of depution­ists and pol­icy re­gard­ing dis­pos­ing of the of­fi­cial ve­hi­cles in the IHC pool. Ma­lik pointed out that un­der the Islamabad Ju­di­cial Ser­vice Rules 2011, the ad­min­is­tra­tion com­mit­tee com­prised of three mem­bers in­cluded the Chief Jus­tice and two se­nior most judges adding that the IHC regis­trar of­fice on June 20, 2016 at a time when se­nior pu­sine judge Jus­tice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi and se­nior judge Jus­tice Shaukat Aziz Sid­diqui of the ad­min­is­tra­tion com­mit­tee were in meet­ing changed its com­po­si­tion by adding two more judges into the said com­mit­tee.

For­mer vice chair­man of Pun­jab Bar Coun­cil Mo­ham­mad Arif Chaudhry said the Supreme Court in its judg­ment of 1996 in Ab­dul Jab­bar Me­mon case as well as in sub­se­quent de­ci­sions had made it manda­tory to fill the va­cant po­si­tion in the gov­ern­ment de­part­ments after prop­erly ad­ver­tis­ing them in the press. Cit­ing an in­ter­nal au­dit re­port of the IHC of the year 2013, Chaudhry said that the said re­port claimed that not a sin­gle merit based ap­point­ment was made in the IHC since 2011 when the court was es­tab­lished. He fur­ther said that the other gov­ern­ment de­part­ments are now try­ing to le­git­imize the ‘ar­bi­trary’ ap­point­ments while re­fer­ring to the way the in­duc­tion has been made in the IHC.

Se­nior lawyer Rana Abid Nazir wel­comed the newly ap­pointed Chief Jus­tice of La­hore High Court (LHC) who not only re­moved a num­ber of ju­di­cial of­fi­cers (in­clud­ing the regis­trar of the LHC) but also re­moved two judges from the ad­min­is­tra­tion com­mit­tee against whom the ref­er­ences were pend­ing in the Supreme Ju­di­cial Coun­cil (SJC). He how­ever claimed that in the fed­eral cap­i­tal the sit­u­a­tion was vice versa.

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