Gilgit-Baltistan: Vacant Posts in SAC and Chief Court of GB

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GILGIT (ET):  Lawyers have been boycotting their duties for the past three days to press the government to fill vacant posts in Gilgit–Baltistan (G-B) courts.

“The government needs to be reminded of its duty to fill vacant posts in the Supreme Appellate Court and the Chief Court of G-B,” said Imran Hussain, a local lawyer, while talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday.

He said numerous cases are pending in courts due to lack of judges and the backlog will further increase after the three-month-long winter vacations in G-B end.

Earlier on Friday, lawyers organised two rallies simultaneously in Gilgit and Skardu, demanding immediate appointment of judges in the courts. They termed the delay “a joke with the judiciary.”

The Supreme Appellate Court, the region’s apex court, has been dysfunctional since June, after the contracts of Justice Mohammad Yaqub and Justice Jafar Shah expired. Justice Rana Mohammad Arshad Khan is the only judge serving at the court, however, he is barred from hearing any appeal singlehandedly.

According to G-B Self Governance Order 2009, a minimum three-member bench is needed to hear an appeal, said Musrat Jamal, another local lawyer.

The G-B government has sent various summaries to the federal government to appoint two judges in the Supreme Appellate Court, but the posts remain vacant.

Lawyers have raised concerns over the procedure of appointing judges on contract, saying that G-B’s highest judiciary has been “contracted out” and that justice cannot be achieved under “such a temporary system.”

They have vowed that bar associations will continue their struggle to get flaws removed from the system.

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