ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) urged the authorities to prioritise the fresh appointment of lawyers and sitting judges in various tribunals and courts to ensure a more equitable distribution of opportunities within the legal fraternity.

PBC Vice Chairman Riazat Ali Sahar, and Chairman of its Executive Committee Farooq Hamid Naek, on Thursday, in a statement, stated that the Council, as the foremost representative body of the legal fraternity in the nation, is compelled to address a concerning issue that has surfaced within the judicial landscape.

They said that it has come to our attention that crucial tenure-based assignments, such as positions in courts and tribunals such as the Federal Shariat Court, Anti-Terrorism Courts, Service Tribunals, Environmental Protection Tribunals, Appellate Tribunals and various other courts and tribunals, are consistently being repeatedly allocated to retired judges of the High Courts and retired District and Sessions Judges. This practice warrants immediate attention and resolution.

PBC advocates an apolitical role of courts

“While the Pakistan Bar Council acknowledges the invaluable experience and wisdom that retired judges bring to the legal system, we deem it acceptable to appoint retired judges to such important posts once in exceptional cases. However, we are deeply concerned by the repeated extensions and re-assignments granted to the same retired judges. This practice poses a significant challenge to the morale of practicing lawyers and sitting judges.

It is an undeniable fact that retired judges already enjoy the benefits of pension and privileges rightfully accorded to them. Therefore, the PBC questions the necessity of burdening them with re-assignments, which could instead be entrusted to deserving lawyers and sitting judges’ eager to contribute their skills and expertise to the administration of justice.

“Furthermore, if they are so burdened for assignment, they should not be given additional benefits except pension and privileges already accorded to them or the said pension and privileges be stopped during their period of assignment. This is because receiving double benefits imposes an unjustifiable burden on the national exchequer.

“We urge the relevant authorities to heed our call for a thorough review of the above said issue and to priorities the fresh appointment of lawyers and sitting judges for these pivotal assignments. By doing so, we can ensure a more equitable distribution of opportunities within the legal fraternity while upholding the sanctity and credibility of our judicial system.”

They said that the PBC remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting transparency, accountability, and fairness within the judiciary. We stand united in voicing the genuine concerns of our fraternity and will continue to strive towards a legal system that serves the interests of justice and upholds the rule of law.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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