Pakistan’s Top court to hear G-B CM’s plea today

Jammu & Kashmir POK - Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

ISLAMABAD: After the passage of five months, the Supreme Court has fixed for hearing the constitutional petition of G-B CM Khalid Khurshid Khan, challenging the appointment of a judge as well as the extension given to three judges of the region’s chief court by the Pakistan government.

A three-member bench of the apex court led by Justice Ijazul Ahsan and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi will take up the petition on Monday (today).

In September last year, the chief minister had filed a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution through senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan and made the federal government, G-B governor and newly-appointed Judge Chief Court Javed Ahmed respondents.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had given an extension to three judges of the G-B Chief Court on September 16, following a summary moved by G-B Governor Syed Mahdi Shah. However, the summary was initiated without consulting the chief minister.

Later, the Registrar’s Office returned the petition by raising seven objections. In the meanwhile, the G-B CM challenged the objections by filing an appeal in the chamber, which was heard by Justice Munib Akhtar.

“I conclude that prima facie (which suffices for disposing of Chamber Appeals of the present nature) the office objections cannot be sustained,” said a four-page order issued by Justice Munib Akhtar while deciding the appeal in the chamber in the month of November.

The judge noted that the matter of governance in G-B and attendant issues, including the availability of fundamental rights to the people, had been dealt with in the Civil Aviation Authority case.

In the petition, the G-B government contended that the action of the prime minister and the G-B governor was illegal and in violation of the Gilgit-Baltistan Government Order 2018 read with the Gilgit-Baltistan Rules of Business 2009.

“The impugned appointment notification is repugnant to constitutional norms, provisions, rights and fundamental rights. The appointment is without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

“Similarly, the impugned extension notification is unconstitutional, without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

“The impugned notifications are contrary to a series of judgments of this hon’ble court including cases reported Al-Jehad Trust and Civil Aviation Authority (supra). This hon’ble court has consistently held that the right to self-government of Gilgit-Baltistan can only be guaranteed through an empowered G-B Assembly.”

The petition requested the Supreme Court to declare that Governor GB Mehdi Shah had no lawful authority to advise the Prime Minister for the appointment of Javed Ahmed as judge of the chief court.

Likewise, the CM requested the apex court to declare the appointment of Javed Ahmed illegal. “Declare that Respondent No.3 does not hold the office of judge of the chief court under any lawful authority.”

“Declare the impugned appointment notification dated 16.09.2022 as without lawful authority and of no legal effect, quash it and consequently the appointment of Respondent No.3 as Judge of Chief Court, Gilgit-Baltistan.”

It prayed the court to also declare that the prime minister had no lawful authority to merely extend the appointment of Justice Malik Inayat-ur-Rehman, Justice Johar Ali Khan and Justice Raja Shakeel Ahmed for a term of one year and was duty-bound to confirm such appointments.

It is also pleaded the SC to direct the federal government to forthwith issue a fresh notification for confirmation of the judges as judges of the chief court, with effect from