Having differences with the judiciary on the issue of the elevation of judges to the Supreme Court, lawyers across the county will boycott all courts on September 9.
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Latif Afridi informed the chief justice of Pakistan through a letter sent to the SC registrar that at a lawyers’ convention held in Karachi on August 21, the legal fraternity decided that it would boycott the proceedings of not only the apex court on September 9 but all other courts in the country as well.
He further wrote that the SCBA would also abide by the decision made by their colleagues across the country and the CJP was being informed of this move in advance so that there was no untoward incident on the day.
The two major pillars of the judiciary, the bench and the bar, are drifting away from each other for the past few days, following differences over the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court that also led to protests by the legal fraternity at various levels.
It was a rare occasion that a farewell reception was not arranged in honour of retired Justice Mushir Alam, while lawyers boycotted the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-appointed ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar.
There have been controversies over the past few years, regarding the rules of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) – the forum responsible for the nomination of judges for the superior judiciary.
Lawyers have demanded that the role of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) should be given more prominence in the appointment of judges. They complained that the judges, who were members of the JCP, made decisions based on voting, therefore, the opinion of the lawyers was not being ignored.
In recent weeks, difference erupted between the lawyers and the higher judiciary over the appointment of Justice Mazhar of the SHC to the SC. At the SHC, Justice Mazhar was fifth on the seniority list.
Following the appointment of Justice Mazhar, the PBC called a nationwide strike, besides staging protests at all levels.
Even the PBC along with the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) boycotted the oath-taking ceremony of Justice Mazhar.
The lawyers also boycotted the farewell reception-dinner in honour of Justice Mushir Alam. Later the farewell reference for Justice Alam was also cancelled by the Supreme Court because of the prevailing coronavirus pandemic.
Besides, lawyers have also been protesting against the elevation of the SHC CJ Ahmad Ali Sheikh as an ad hoc Judge of the apex court without his consent.
CJP Gulzar Ahmed has summoned a meeting of the JCP on September 9 to consider Justice Ayesha Malik of the Lahore High Court for her appointment as a Supreme Court judge.
Justice Ayesha is on number four on the LHC judge seniority list.