Amid lawyers protest across the country, Justice Ayesha Malik of the Lahore High Court (LHC) could not be elevated to the Supreme Court, sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune on Thursday.
They said that the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) could not evolve consensus regarding the elevation of the first female judge to the apex court. Under the Constitution, the JCP with a majority vote recommends elevation to the top court.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan and Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem supported her nomination. While Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice, Justice retired Dost Muhammad Khan and PBC representative in JCP Akhtar Hussain opposed the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa, a member of the JCP, was absent from the meeting.
It is pertinent to mention here that no female judge has ever been elevated to the Supreme Court in the judicial history of Pakistan,
Lawyers across Pakistan went on strike on Thursday and boycotted court proceedings against the appointment of junior judges to the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Latif Afridi apprised CJP Gulzar Ahmed of the protest through a letter sent on August 21.
The two major pillars of the judiciary, the bench and the bar have been drifting away from each other for the past few days, following differences over the appointment of judges to the apex court that also led to protests by the legal fraternity at various levels.
Earlier in August, the chief justice had made history by nominating the first female high court judge for elevation to the top court.
AGP Khalid Jawed Khan said in his opinion submitted before CJP Justice Gulzar that appointment of the first woman judge to the apex court “would have been a historic occasion”.
“I would prefer that the first woman judge be appointed by unanimous recommendation of the members of JCP as well as full support of the Bar. Such happy occasion does not appear to be materialising today,” he wrote in his note.
Since the consensus for evolving criteria for appointment to the Supreme Court has yet to develop and the response of the Bar is awaited, the AJP recommended that the JCP may consider and decide the following: “The JCP may decide and resolve that henceforth there shall at least be one seat, with the possibility of more in future, earmarked for appointment of a woman as judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.”