ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice-Chairman Ahsan Bhoon on Thursday expressed deep concern over the method and criteria adopted for appointing judges of high courts.

Bhoon in a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan maintained that “this is an opportunity for making an amendment to the Judicial Commission rules, if it is lost, then the legal community, as well as the public, will lose confidence in the system of justice and the independence of the judiciary”.

The PBC vice-chairman expressed reservations over the selection and assessment of merit while appointing judges . He regretted over the non-transparent manner in which ad-hoc judges of the Lahore High Court were dropped, their confirmation extended or their appointments confirmed. “Lawyers are best judges of the performance of members of the bench,” he said.

“There is almost unanimity that the process and decisions were not transparent. It was flawed and riddled with subjectivity. Our strong reservations (which were widely shared in the bar associations) are also supported by the Parliamentary Committee which found the courage to request the Judicial Commission to review its decision,” he said.

He said the quality of justice and development of sound legal jurisprudence depends on the level of quality and the independence of members of the bench. “We must collectively search our souls and come to an honest conclusion of its decline, or improvement.”

Bhoon requested the Chief Justice and members of the Judicial Commission to reconsider their recent decision in a modest and objective manner. “It is my hope that reconsidering this most unhappy decision of the Judicial Commission will be carried out without making its undoing a matter of the commission’s prestige. It is critical that decisions of the Judicial Commission are made on the principles of fairness and non-discrimination,” said the letter.