ISLAMABAD   -    Several members of Ju­dicial Commission of Pa­kistan (JCP) had empha­sized in a recent meeting of the Commission on inclusion of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah’s name in the recommen­dations for elevation to the Supreme Court.

In this regard, JCP member Justice Sardar Tariq Masood said in his letter to the JCP Chairman Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and other members of the Commission that the IHC chief justice should be considered for eleva­tion to the apex court.

He wrote, “On my turn, I after discuss­ing the seniority prin­ciple referred to a com­parative analysis of the nominated judges with  superseded senior judges. I also recommended that honourable Justice Athar Minallah, who is 2nd in se­niority amongst the chief justices of all the High Courts, be considered.”

He also stated, “No one has raised a finger against his in­tegrity, competency etc.”

In the letter, circulated to other members of the JCP and the press, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali wrote that while he had refrained from commenting on the merits of each nominee, proposed for elevation by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Ban­dial “in the interest of pro­priety”, he had maintained that Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minal­lah was “eminently qualified to be considered for eleva­tion to the apex court, and that such elevations, in any event, must be made against existing vacancies, no more and no less.”

He clarified that his stance in the meeting was that “re­jection or confirmation of candidates must be regulat­ed by guiding rules,” which must be settled beforehand, and the data of any new can­didates must be thoroughly assessed accordingly.

The AGP wrote, “It was for this particular reason that I suggested that the meet­ing be deferred until the ap­proval of such criteria.”

He maintained: “Any ap­pointment to the Supreme Court of Pakistan is a sacred trust, vested in the members of the Judicial Commission. To fulfil this trust, members must afford one another a full and unimpeded airing of their views.”

Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar stressed that the name of IHC CJ should be considered for el­evation to the top court. Be­sides other JCP members, he also suggested considering the name of Justice Athar Mi­nallah who is an honourable judge and would be a good addition to the Supreme Court, and his elevation will also end the perception that capable senior-most judges are not being elevated to the apex court. His addition will also add to the transparency factor, he said.

He said the top court’s judgment in the Munir Bhatti case should be revis­ited as it made the commit­tee ineffective.