ISLAMABAD    -    Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Khalid Khursheed Khan on Wednesday challenged the appointment of GB Chief Court’s judges before the Supreme Court contending that these were made in violation of the GB Or­der 2018 and Rules of Business 2009. 

In this regard, GB Chief Minister and the GB government through Secretary Law and Prosecution Department filed a constitu­tional petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution in the Supreme Court and cit­ed the federation through Secretary Minis­try of Kashmir Affairs, Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice and Governor Syed Mehdi Shah as respondents. 

They prayed to the apex court to declare GB Governor (Respondent No 2) had no lawful authority to advise the Prime Min­ister (Respondent No 1) for the appoint­ment of Javed Ahmed (Respondent No 3) as Judge of GB Chief Court for one year and to extend the appointment of Justice Malik Inayat-ur-Rehman, Justice Johar Ali Khan and Justice Raja Shakeel Ahmed – judges of Chief Court – for one year. 

They contended that Prime Minister of Pakistan and the GB Governor acted in vi­olation of the Gilgit-Baltistan Government Order 2018 read with the Gilgit-Baltistan Rules of Business 2009. 

The petition said, “Declare the impugned appointment notification dated 16.09.2022 as without lawful authority and of no legal effect, quash it and consequently the ap­pointment of Respondent No 3 as a judge of Chief Court Gilgit-Baltistan.” 

It added, “Direct the federal government to forthwith issue a fresh notification for confirmation of Justice Malik Inayat-ur-Reh­man, Justice Johar Ali Khan and Justice Raja Shakeel Ahmed as the judges of Chief Court, with effect from 16.09.2022.” 

The petition continued, “Prohibit the Prime Minister and GB Governor from mak­ing any new appointments of Chief Judge or Judge(s) of Supreme Appellate Court and the Chief Court of Gilgit-Baltistan without prior advice of the Chief Minister and/or Cabinet of Gilgit-Baltistan.” 

GB Governor Syed Mehdi Shah on 13.09.2022 sent a summary to the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for appointment of a judge of the Chief Court. He recommend­ed three names, including respondent No 3. Consequently, on 16-09-22 a notification for the appointment of Javed Ahmed as the judge of Chief Court was issued for an initial period of one year. 

Similarly, the GB Chief Minister on 20-07-22 sent summary to the Governor for the confirmation of appointment of Justice Ma­lik Inayat-ur-Rehman, Justice Johar Ali Khan and Justice Raja Shakeel Ahmed. The Gover­nor accordingly advised the Prime Minister on 04-08-22. However, the Prime Minister instead of confirming them extended their term for another one year. 

The petitioners contended that the Prime Minister by not following the advice of the Governor acted in contravention of Article 84 of the Order 2018. 

They said that the executive authority and discretion of the Governor and Prime Min­ister in appointment of Judges of Supreme Appellate Court and Chief Court of Gilg­it-Baltistan are controlled by Articles 75 and 84 read with Article 34 of the Order 2018. 

They submitted that without being first advised by the Chief Minister (Petitioner No 1) or Cabinet, under Article 34 of the Order 2018, the Governor (Respondent No 2) had no authority to advise the Prime Minister to appoint Respondent No 3 as Judge of Chief Court of Gilgit-Baltistan. Therefore, the ac­tion of the GB Governor in the appointment of Javed Ahmed suffers both from malice in fact and in law, and is completely without lawful authority and of no legal effect