GILGIT (ET): A row between the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government and the ministry of Kashmir Affairs and G-B has delayed the appointment of judges in the Supreme Appellate Court, leaving the court dysfunctional since May.
“There is obviously a row between the two that’s why appointment (of judges) has gotten delayed,” a G-B government official told The Express Tribune on Thursday.
This was also confirmed by various other sources in the G-B government as well, who say it has sent various summaries for the appointment of two judges, according to the mechanism provided in Self Governance Order 2009. However, the Kashmir Affairs Ministry remained unmoved, ignoring the plight of litigants in the region.
A senior official in the governor’s office said that the latest summary moved by G-B governor Pir Karam Ali was held in abeyance by the ministry mainly because Mian Manzoor Watto did not agree with it.
“The names for judges have been communicated to the ministry recently but we haven’t heard from them,” the official said.
The court has ceased to function since May 26 when two of the three judges – Justice Jaffar Shah and Justice Muhammad Yaqoub – retired.
Legal experts say that the chief judge of the court, Justice Rana Mohammad Arshad Khan cannot singlehandedly hear the cases, as under Article 60(14) of the Self Governance Order 2009 an appeal to the Supreme Appellate Court shall be heard by a bench of at least two judges.
Legislative Assembly Speaker Wazir Baig, when contacted, refused to comment on the row. He said that a summary has been forwarded to the federal government, suggesting names of probable judges.