ISLAMABAD: Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on Wednesday said that judges are waiting to dispense justice but lawyers have “stopped working”.
Justice Khosa, who will be stepping in as the chief justice of Pakistan after Justice Mian Saqib Nisar’s retirement on Jan 17, said this while hearing a case regarding district judiciary lawyers’ strike in Islamabad since December 2018 over the issue of rotation of sessions’ court judges.
As the hearing underway, Justice Khosa said, “It is the lawyers that have stopped working; judges [in the district sessions courts of Islamabad] are sitting there waiting for people to come to them so that they dispense justice.”
The to-be top judge said he had read in a newspaper that the strike takes place every Tuesday and Friday. “Two other days are already off,” he noted.
Justice Khosa subsequently referred the matter to the Islamabad High Court.
The lawyers’ who are on strike are demanding rotation i.e. the transfer of lower courts judges to the subordinate judiciary of four provincial high courts and posting of judges from these high courts to Islamabad on deputation.
Following this, the government has proposed that instead of posting judges to other provinces, they may be transferred to federal government departments and ministries in Islamabad.
However, the Islamabad Bar Association (IBA) president deems the proposal “unacceptable” since a well-connected judge may rejoin the district judiciary any time.
The IBA president said that “the lawyers’ would continue their strike till their demand for rotation of judges was accepted”.
According to recent data issued by the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP), there is a backlog of 38,291 cases and, on average; over 1,000 cases are added to this pendency every month.