Time, destiny favouring LHC PCO judges


LAHORE: Time and destiny might favour PCO Judge Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi’s elevation to the office of the Lahore High Court chief justice after December 8, 2010, when Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif retires from office, judicial sources said on Friday.
Technically, only LHC’s Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry and Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar Hussain were senior to the so-called ‘PCO-tainted’ Justice Shabbar Raza. But judicial officers believe that Justice Ijaz Chaudhry would likely be elevated to the SC while Justice Iftikhar’s Hussain’s name was also under consideration for the office of the chief justice of the Federal High Court (FHC).
Other names being considered for LHC chief justice include Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, ninth on the seniority list. However, Justice Azmat Saeed may also be elevated to the SC if PCO judges return. Among the current judges, the competition for the FHC CJ is between Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar Hussain and Justice Umar Ata Bandiyal.
Presently, there are contempt of court proceedings against four PCO judges, including Justice Shabbar Raza, at the Supreme Court for taking oath under the PCO in violation of SC order of November 3, 2007. However, it is being said in legal circles that their offences might be “overlooked” by the SC, as they are not the only judges who took oath under the PCO.
The second most decisive factor, sources said, was that the four PCO judges, being senior, were needed at the LHC to run the system, as a majority of LHC judges were junior and lacked the requisite experience to handle the work at this level.