The parliamentary committee on the appointment of judges has urgently approved the elevation of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah to the Supreme Court.
It also approved the nomination of the senior puisne judge, Justice Aamer Farooq, as the new IHC CJ, who now faces a massive challenge in view of the prevailing political situation.
The committee, however, deferred the matter regarding the elevation of two junior judges of the high courts to the apex court for further consideration.
A meeting under the chairmanship of Dr Fehmida Mirza was held to consider the proposal of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) regarding the elevation of three high court judges, including the IHC CJ to the SC.
Earlier, the meeting was scheduled for November 10, but the revised schedule was issued to hold the meeting on Friday.
It has been learned that the purpose of the meeting was to elevate Justice Minallah early in the prevailing political situation.
Interestingly, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Swati, who is also a member of the committee, did not raise objections to the meeting.
Out of eight, five members of the committee attended the meeting. Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Farooq H Naek did not attend the meeting.
Senior lawyers are wondering about the urgency to convene a meeting for the elevation of Justice Minallah to the apex court.
The committee considered the nominations of Sindh High Court (SHC) Junior Judge Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Lahore High Court (LHC) Junior Judge Justice Shahid Waheed and IHC CJ Minallah for appointment as judges of the top court.
The meeting was attended by Dr Fehmida, MNA Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad, Senator Swati Senator Sarfraz Ahmad Bugti and Muhammad Asim Nazir.
According to the minutes of the meeting, while considering the nominations of Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed, the committee, after detailed discussions, unanimously agreed to defer the said nominations for further consideration.
The parliamentary committee considered the nomination of Justice Minallah in the light of the recommendations of the JCP and after due diligence and discussions unanimously agreed with the recommendation of the commission and confirmed his name for appointment.
In case the government notifies Justice Minallah’s appointment as SC judge, he will not be able to sit in the JCP meeting which is being held on November 8 to consider the confirmation of three additional judges of the IHC. The outgoing CJ proposed their confirmation to the commission.
Members of JCP have welcomed the committee’s decision to defer the matter regarding the elevation of two junior high court judges to the SC. They expected that the committee would reject the junior judges’ nominations for their elevation to the SC.
It has been learned that this matter would be taken up on November 10.
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