Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa has requested Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmad to develop criteria for the appointment of judges to the apex court prior to ruling on Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Ayesha A. Malik’s nomination to the top court.
In a two page letter, Justice Isa, a member of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), wrote, “Once the nomination and selection criteria are determined, it will help dispel misgivings that arbitrariness in the selection process holds sway.”
The nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court has divided the court, with four justices opposed and four in favor of her appointment. Various opinions from across the legal field have been offered regarding her suitability for the role.
Justice Isa addressed Justice Malik’s seniority, a major point of contention against her nomination. In his letter, he stated that the argument of merit versus seniority was unfounded and questioned whether affirmative action should be considered to ensure religious, ethnic or gender representation on the Supreme Court’s bench.
The letter also pointed to Article 175A (4) of the Constitution which grants the JCP the authority to develop rules regarding the procedure of elevating judges to the Supreme Court.
‘Transparent’ and ‘inclusive’ nomination criteria should be developed before a decision is made on Justice Malik’s elevation, the Justice’s letter concluded.