Want judges? Here’s a list of our blue-eyed boys


Judges appointed under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) of 2007, leaders of the People’s Lawyers Form (PLF) and relatives and friends of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders have been recommended for appointment as Sindh High Court (SHC) judges by the provincial government, Pakistan Today has learnt. At the province’s upper judicial forum, 28 seats of judges out of the reserved 40 seats are lying vacant. Three separate constitutional petitions are also being heard in the SHC regarding the matter. A summary containing the names of 27 lawyers belonging to the different districts of Sindh was sent to the SHC chief justice through the Sindh Law Department with the consent and approval of Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah.
Sources in the law department told Pakistan Today that the recommendation list also has the names of Ghulam Dastgir Shahani, Safdar Bhutto, Ismail Bhutto and Iqbal Mahar, four former SHC judges who were appointed when Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar was working as the Chief Justice of Pakistan under the PCO. The four judges had been sent packing when the Supreme Court of Pakistan on July 31, 2009, in a historical judgment, sacked 102 incumbent judges on a constitutional petition of Sindh High Court Bar Association, pleaded by its then president Justice (retd) Rashid A Rizvi.
The other “notable” names in the list are Additional Advocate General Miran Muhammad Shah, brother of Federal Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar; Additional Advocate General Liaquat Shar, who is also a PLF leader; PLF-Hyderabad leader Fazal Qadir Memon; Larkana High Court Bar Association President Inayatullah Morio, also a member of PLF Larkana; and Pakistan Bar Council member Salahuddin Panhwar, also PLF Mirpurkhas leader. Also on the list for potential candidates for SHC judges are Sathi Ishaq, Abdul Majid Bhurgri, Gulab Rai Jisrani, Mushtaq Ahmed Korejo, Imtiaz Soomro, Ahmed Ali Shahani, Rizat Sahar, Munir Khawar, Muhammd Ali Shaikh, Nisar Duarani, Suleman Dahiry and Shafi Chandio. Meanwhile, a nationalist party staged a protest on the shortage of judges in the provincial high court.
With only 12 incumbent judges in the SHC, reportedly more than 70,000 cases of different nature are pending before the province’s upper judicial forum, where at least 300 appeals, constitutional petitions, civil suits among other cases are put before the single, divisional, appellate, special benches and other special tribunals on daily basis. However, despite the passage of many months, the 28 positions remain vacant, resulting in immense difficulties for the litigants, witnesses, defence lawyers and other relevant persons.
Moreover, more than 100,000 cases are also pending in the 437 district courts in the 27 districts of the province that are working under the direct administrative supervision of the SHC. It is worth mentioning that the SHC’s principle bench at Karachi is the only high court of the country where matters of civil nature over the tune of Rs 3 million proceed, due to Karachi being a port city. In the remaining part of the province and the country, all civil matters whatever their valuation proceed in the courts of senior civil judges.