The Judicial Commission of Pakistan on Thursday rejected the elevation of Justice Ayesha A Malik to the Supreme Court due to lack of consensus, reported Dawn.
Justice Ayesha is the fourth on the seniority level in the Lahore High Court and was expected to become the first woman judge of the apex court.
Quoting former AGP Aushtar Ausaf, the report stated, “Though it is a clear rejection, it does not mean that the suggestion could not be reconsidered in future.”
Pakistan Bar Council representative Akhtar Hussain was also quoted in the report as refering to the decision as a rejection and proposed that Peshawar High Court Justice Mussarat Hilali should be considered for elevation to the apex court.
Lack of consensus among the eight members of the commission was the reason during the extended meeting of the JCP which continued for at least four hours.
Four judges of the JCP named Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, former judge Dost Mohammad Khan and Pakistan Bar Council representative Akhtar Hussain opposed the appointment of Justice Ayesha, while Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Law Minister Barrister Dr Farogh Naseem and Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan favoured it.
Another JCP member Justice Qazi Faez Isa didn’t attend the meeting because he was with his wife Sarina Isa who is undergoing medical treatment, reported Dawn.
Justice Ayesha was supposed to replace Justice Mushir Alam who had reached supper annuation on August 17.
As the JCP meeting was ongoing, the lawyers’ protest and convention was held in the nearby Supreme Court Bar Association complex, according to the report.
The lawyers were protesting against the favouritism in the appointment of judges to the SC which led to harming the image of the judiciary.
It is pertinent to mention that the SC judge Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar who was elevated to the apext court in August was fifth on the seniority level in the Sindh High Court.
Later, the JCP named SHC Chief Justice Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh an ad hoc judge of the apex court and the president issued orders to arrange the oath-taking of the judge. However, he declined the offer in a letter to the commission and expressed consent to be working for the SC on the condition of being appointed as a full time judge.