Gilgit-Baltistan: GB High Court Bar Association Demands Cancellation of Recent Appointments

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Gilgit (ET): Amid a controversy which erupted in the wake of a judicial reference against a senior Supreme Appellate Court (SAC), judge, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Chief Minister   (CM) Mehdi Shah said Chief Judge Justice Nawaz Abbasi has been barred from working in Islamabad and that a request for an extension in service has been revoked. However, the CM’s statement was partly refuted by the court.

Justice Abbasi had moved a reference against Justice Jafar Shah last December, after a complaint by Governor Karam Ali Shah. The governor had forwarded a summary for Justice Abbasi’s extension, who is due to retire on January 14. However, a press release issued by the SAC registrar stated that Mehdi Shah’s statement is based on misinformation.

The court is closed due to winter vacation and as per notification, a judge would be available for urgent work in his chamber, whereas the chief judge will be in Islamabad during the holidays, reads the statement.

“The chief judge may discharge his official business at any place other than Gilgit and no executive authority including the chief minister can interfere in the affairs of the chief judge or the court.”

Meanwhile, G-B High Court Bar Association President Ehsan Ali demanded the cancellation of recent appointments made in the SAC. Some time ago, 31 appointments were made in violation of rules, according to sources. Ali said candidates should be resident of G-B and the posts should be advertised. He appealed to district bars to pledge support for removing irregularities in the SAC.

“Around 14 posts including a grade 20 and 13 others up to grade 5 have been filled,” said a source who wished to remain anonymous. When contacted, SAC registrar, Rehman Shah ruled out the impression that appointments were made without fulfilling legal requirements. He said Justice Abbassi was authorised to appoint an additional registrar who is working on contract.

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