After lawyers and activists from Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) rejected the appointment of the new chief judge of the Supreme Appellate Court (SAC), G-B law minister said, on Wednesday, that the prime minister had made the appointment using his discretionary powers.
Prime Minister Gilani approved the summary sent by the regional government for the appointment of a permanent chief judge, said law minister Wazir Shakil, talking to The Express Tribune. Two weeks earlier, the G-B government had suggested appointing an acting chief judge of the SAC from amongst the senior most judges in another summary.
The appointment of Justice Rana Muhammad Arshad Khan as chief judge of the G-B SAC has triggered a sharp reaction in the region as lawyers have threatened to launch a protest movement in the region against the decision.
Shakil said the G-B government had forwarded a summary to the prime minister to appoint Justice Jaffar Shah as acting chief judge after the retirement of former chief judge.
On Tuesday, the day Justice Khan was to be sworn in as the new chief judge, the Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court Bar Association (SACBA) unanimously rejected the appointment of the new chief judge for being in violation of the Self-Governance Order 2009. A number of youth from G-B had staged a protest, delaying the oath-taking ceremony.
Advocate Ahsan Ali, who presided over the meeting in the absence of the president of SACBA had said Justice Khan was neither a retired judge of the Supreme Court nor did he posses the requisite experience.
Published in The Express Tribune