Sindh High Court Chief Justice Recommends Nine Additional Judges, Including One Woman, Amid Concerns Over Lack of Representation in Superior Courts

Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh has nominated nine additional judges for appointment, including one woman. The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial has called a meeting of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on March 16 to consider the nominations. Currently, the SHC has 29 working judges, while the total strength of the high court is 40.

The nominees are District & Session Judge Amjad Ali Bohio and eight lawyers: Mohammad Abdur Rahman, Khadim Hussain Soomro, Arbab Ali Hakro, Jawad Akbar Sarwana, Saleem Akhtar Buriro, Sana Akram Minhas, Rashid Mustafa, and Syed Tarique Ahmed Shah. The SHC CJ has nominated one woman, Sana Akram Minhas. Last year, the appointment of seven SHC judges was not approved by a majority of JCP members.

There are also deliberations on the elevation of two high court judges to the Supreme Court (SC), and there is a possibility that both nominations can be made on a seniority principle. Two judges’ seats are vacant in the apex court. The JCP members have been divided on the appointment of SC judges for the last five years.

Concerns have been raised over the lack of adequate representation of women in the superior courts, and there is a serious concern over the “improper” representation of small provinces in the superior court. A delegation of four Peshawar High Court (PHC) judges met with CJP Bandial last year to convey their concerns over the non-nomination of a judge of PHC for elevation to the apex court. PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan is retiring on March 30, while PHC senior puisne judge Roohul Amin Khan is retiring on March 31.

Advocate Mansoor Awan has stated that female judges bring a different perspective to the court which male judges cannot largely appreciate. The Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment urged the JCP in 2021 to consider women for appointment as judges of superior courts. The former attorney general for Pakistan, Khalid Jawed Khan, had also raised concerns about the representation of women on the bench. Senior lawyers are wondering why the judiciary did not consider the names of lawyers who belong to a minority community since the finest judges to have worked in the superior courts belonged to the minority community.

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