Judicial crisis aggravated in Pakistan as 1300 judges resign

14:53, October 05, 2010      

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Judicial crisis in Pakistan worsened as at least 1300 judges working in lower courts resigned from their posts on Monday protesting over the unacceptable behavior of lawyers to them.

Local media reported that over 1,300 Civil Judges of Punjab, Pakistan's eastern province, tendered their resignation as tension between the lawyers and judges simmered during the last week.

The judges sent their resignations to the concerned district and session judges to protest the mistreatment from lawyers and their unjust demands.

The judges were of the view that they would stick to their principle stance till the proper solution of the problem.

Meanwhile, Punjab Bar Council said that being civil servants, the judges could not set up an association, and hence they should be sacked.

In the absence of judges in the courts litigants were facing severe problems as hearing of thousands of cases are said to be postponed.

On the other hand, the lawyers have also been observing a countrywide strike against police highhandedness and to pressurize the higher authorities to transfer Zawar Sheikh, a district and session judge in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, blaming that his behavior with lawyers was very rude.

According to a press note, Chief Justice Lahore High Court Khawja Sharif had refused to accept the resignations of the judges and advised them to carry on their duties.

After resignations from judges in huge quantity Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan, ordered formation of a committee comprising of senior lawyers Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, Kazim Khan, Anwar Kamal and Ali Ahmed Kurd to resolve the dispute through negotiation.

But representatives of lawyers' community rejected the formation of a committee and showed their hard stance for their demands.

Even a member of the committee Kurd held Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sharif responsible for the clash between the lawyers and lower court judges.

Kurd maintained that the issue had been rearing its head for the last three months, adding that had it been heeded, it would not have snowballed into a serious Bar-Bench row.

The trouble emerged on Sept. 30 when a group of lawyers entered Lahore High Court leading a rally for their demand to transfer the district & session judge of Lahore. They chanted slogans against Chief Justice Lahore High Court Sharif and tried to enter his office before police pushed them back.

Later in the day police arrested the responsible lawyers involved in planning to attack the chief justice office.

Next day, with the arrest of lawyers, clashes were triggered between lawyers and police in Lahore leaving many injured on the both sides.

Qazi Anwar, Lawyers' leader, urged the lawyers and judges to hold negotiations to end the prevailing crisis warning that a dangerous situation might emerge in the wake of the judges' resignations.

Former justice Wajihuddin, while talking to Xinhua, said that both the factions of judicial system should abide by laws and principles and held the administration responsible for the ongoing row.

AK Dogar, a senior lawyer, criticized judges for their resignations saying that the judges had made an association, which is a violation of Article 17 of the Constitution and their resignations had put the whole system at halt, which is quite a dangerous situation for the country.

Courts are closed, lawyers are on roads protesting against judges and police while litigants are upset because their issues and cases had been put aside. According to the latest media reports, judges may resume their work very soon but sources did not confirm it.

Senior lawyers and former judges were feeling threat in the view that if the current situation prevails in the next few days, this would be a very dangerous for the reputation of the courts, and people's belief in courts and justice might be damaged.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张心意)

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