Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, one of the nine people who make up the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, is upset about what was said about the honesty of two nominees from Sindh at the JCP meeting on July 28.
In a one-page letter sent to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on July 30, Justice Shah expressed regret that a member of the commission said he had learned about the credentials of the nominee judges from Sindh from one or two lawyers from the province.
The letter from Justice Shah is the fourth one sent to the CJP after the JCP meeting last week. Justices Qazi Faez Isa, Sardar Tariq Masood, and Ashtar Ausaf had all written letters to the CJP before.
“Such information could be judged by the fact that the Pakistan Bar Council’s (PBC) representative in JCP, Akhtar Hussain, did not question the integrity of judges. Instead, he said that as far as Justice Shafi Siddiqui and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi (both from Sindh) are concerned, he is disputing their nomination based on seniority and has no problem with their other qualities.
“With all the humility and respect I can muster, I must state that the honorable member did not trust his colleagues enough to talk to them about this,” the letter said.
Justice Sajjad Ali Shah said that two members of the JCP had not only been judges in the Sindh High Court (SHC) for more than a decade but also been named its chief justice.
Justice Sajjad said that two other judges on the Supreme Court who are not members of the JCP had worked in the SHC for ten years and could have been asked about the eligibility of the two nominees from Sindh.
Justice Shah said that he knew the two SHC judges were honest because he had worked with them for many years. “I’d like to say that calling into question the honesty of judges based on hearsay from one or two lawyers who weren’t even named was unfortunate,” the judge said.
Justice Shah said that it seemed like some people were trying to ruin the reputations of the two nominees. He added that the CJP should do “everything he can to restore their reputations.”
“Let’s not forget that these nominees didn’t apply for this position; they were put forward because of their qualifications,” Justice Shah said. Justice Shah added that the AGP didn’t say anything about the qualifications of any nominee judge at the JCP meeting.
“On the other hand, when one of the commission’s judges called for the nominations to be rejected, the AGP asked for the session to be postponed until the criteria for choosing candidates were settled,” he said. “Since I’ll be taking off my robes in a few days (on August 14), I wouldn’t have to go to the next JCP meeting, which would be a burden. So, I’m asking the CJP to keep this letter on file,” said Justice Shah.
Members of the judicial commission did not always agree with each other, but the letter said that in the past, disagreements had been met with less anger.