Sunday, October 19, 2008

Judiciary in Pakistan - 8

And even more baggage of Mr Asif Ali Zardari, Agha Rafiq and Former CJ SCP Syed Sajjad Ali Shah.

Agha Rafiq Ahmad, a junior session judge was a close friend of Benazir’s husband Asif Ali Zardari and he had helped in Sajjad A. Shah’s elevation to the post of chief justice of Sindh high court through Sindh chief minister Abdullah Shah, during Benzair’s first tenure (1988-1990). When Benazir was considering Sajjad for chief justice slot, Zardari held several meetings with Sajjad A. Shah and Agha Rafiq was present in some of those meetings. When Sajjad became chief justice of Supreme Court, he paid back his old friend. Agha Rafiq was serving as Director of PIA. Sajjad advised Benazir to appoint Rafiq as law secretary in the Sindh government and after sometime there he will be qualified to be appointed as a judge of higher court. [The Friday Times, April 11-17, 1996]

However, everyone was impatient and when Zardari wanted to elevate Rafiq to high court, Shah told prime minister that Rafiq was a very junior session’s judge (number 34 on the seniority list of 37) and it would create problems. However, Rafiq was elevated as Sindh high court justice. Chief justice of Sindh high court Abdul Hafeez Memon was pressured by a senator to nominate another junior session judge Shah Nawaz Awan (number thirteen on seniority list) for high court appointment. When chief justice Sajjad A. Shah asked Memon why he nominated him, he was told that he was being pressurized and the senator who wanted him to be elevated told Memon that if a judge who was number thirty four was being nominated then what was wrong with nominating number thirteen on the same list.

[The incident is narrated by Sajjad A. Shah in Shah. Law Courts, p. 232]

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