Maqbool Baqir says will try to bring honest people in caretaker cabinet

Murad, Anwar agree on name of Justice (r) Maqbool Baqir as head of interim govt in Sindh

KARACHI  -  Sind government headed by Chief Minister Side Murad Ali Shah and Opposition Leader Rana Anwar agreed on the name of Justice retd Maqbool Baqar as the head of the interim govern­ment in Sindh province.

Governor Sindh Kamran Tes­sori approved the appointment a day after he said that his name is among the top priority and he had approached leadership of MQM-Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League Functional and Jamaat-i-Isalmi for a consensus on his name. A handout issued from Chief Minister House just min­utes before the three-day con­sultation process was about to over read that the Chief Minister and opposition leader consulted over multiple names from Au­gust 12 to 14 and agreed over the name of honourable Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar, who had served as the chief justice of the Sindh High Court and a judge at Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Recalling his tenure at the Sindh High Court, Senior a se­nior journalist Tahir Siddiqui, who had extensively covered the courts proceedings, said that he was a man of high integ­rity and always followed strictly law and constitution in judicial and administrative matters.

“He was always a great help when it came to gathering infor­mation from the court files. He specifically directed his court staff to let journalists go through the files so that they would do ac­curate reporting.” In June 2013, Justice Baqar survived an assas­sination near the high court in the early morning when the vehicle carrying him was hit by an IED which resulted in the death of nine people. The judge survived the attack and had to undergo multiple treatments after having shrapnel injuries in upper parts of the body, especially the head. 

“He gave several judgments against militants and terrorists as a high court judge,” Tahir Siddiqui said, adding that he however re­fused to budge to the pressure and later served as the chief jus­tice of the Sindh High Court. One of his notable judgments came in the case of the Baldia factory fire, which resulted in the largest com­pensation to the victims of the arson incident. Justice Baqar has remained a critic of the judicial system and on multiple occasions highlighted flaws in the judiciary. 

Even in his speech at the fare­well reference for him at the Su­preme Court, he said that exclu­sion of certain judges from the hearing of sensitive cases on account of their independent and impartial views has an ad­verse effect on the impartiality of judges while also tarnishing the public perception about the independence and integrity of the judiciary. This practice also tends to affect the morale of judges who are consigned to less significant benches and fosters feelings of estrange­ment amongst members of the bench. After his retirement, he even publicly spoke about cor­ruption in the judiciary. 

Participating in a session of the Karachi Literature Festival, he said corruption persisted in the judiciary and the induction of judges had not invariably been on merit as nepotism, favourit­ism and the sacrifice of merit factored in. Interim Caretaker Chief Minister-designate Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar spoke to media on Monday, saying that his sole responsibility is assist­ing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in holding free and fair polls in the province. “The election commission, not the caretaker government, will decide when the elections will take place and we are here to as­sist them,” he said. When asked if he’ll launch an accountabil­ity drive, he said this was not his agenda and he would try to serve the masses in the short span of time he’ll remain at the slot. “I will try to perform my duties in a truthful manner and will not al­low anyone to indulge in corrupt practices,” he said. On a question regarding members of provin­cial caretaker government, he said that he would consult over the matter. “I’ll try to bring hon­est and wise people who care for people and want to do something good for them,” he said, adding that it was aimed at providing some relief to the masses.

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