Lawyers boycott courts across Sindh over move to elevate junior judges to SC – Pakistan

KARACHI: Lawyers on Monday boycotted trials across the city in protest at the appointment of junior judges to the Supreme Court.

A full strike was observed in the Sindh High Court, Municipal Courts, Malir District Courts and Special Courts and Tribunals.

The lawyers failed to present their cases set for the day in any of the courts, leading to the adjournment of hundreds of cases in both the higher and lower courts. This created difficulties for most of the litigants.

In addition, after the lawyers called for a protest, the prison authorities did not take pre-trial detainees from their barracks to appear before the court.

However, the judges remained present in their chambers to hear the urgent cases.

A joint meeting of members representing the Sindh Bar Council (SBC), the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) and the Karachi Bar Association (KBA) was held at the Municipal Courts.

Speakers sharply criticized the proposed promotion of junior judges from the High Courts to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

They claimed that the principle of seniority should be taken into account and properly implemented in the promotion of judges to the Supreme Court.

SBC Deputy Chairman Zulfiqar Jalbani reacted strongly to the appointment of two young judges from the Sindh High Court and the Lahore High Court to the Supreme Court by the Pakistan Judiciary Commission (JCP).

Mr Jalbani told Dawn that the JCP on Monday’s elevation of SHC Judge Hasan Azhar Rizvi and LHC Judge Shahid Waheed to the Supreme Court “in violation of the principle of elders established by the Supreme Court itself in the Al-Jehad Trust case” have approved.

“A conference call was called tomorrow with members of all five provincial bars to decide and announce future course of action,” added Mr. Jalbani.

He further said that the SBC opposed these surveys and requested that the rules of the JCP, by which the procedures for surveying judges be defined and exercised, be formulated first.

Lawyer leaders warned that they could widen the scope of their protest if their request for seniority considerations were not taken into account.

HYDERABAD: A general body meeting organized by the Democratic Lawyers Forum at the Hyderabad office of the High Court Bar Association on Monday condemned the appointment of young judges to the Supreme Court.

Forum organizer Sattar Sarki, who chaired the meeting, said the names of the Sindh nominees put forward for appointment a month ago were rejected when the young judges were appointed to the Supreme Court.

But now the same names are being considered, he said, wondering how the previously rejected judges (Judge Hassan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shafi Siddiqui) had suddenly become so “competent” that they were being considered for promotion to SC. The move would affect the country’s entire judicial system, he said.

DLF Secretary Abdul Hakeem Chandio said none of the SC’s 17 judges are Sindhi.

HCBA President Ghulamullah Chang asked what testimonies Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh, Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court, lacked that his name was not recommended for SC.

Khuda Bux Leghari and Mohammad Sachal Awan said that a movement should be started on this.

The meeting adopted a resolution calling on the Pakistan Bar Council, the Sindh Bar Council and the Bar Association of the Supreme Court to declare that the appointment of young judges was unconstitutional as it would create a sense of deprivation among Sindhis who would see themselves as second-rate citizens.

Published in Dawn, October 25, 2022