LAHORE - Top lawyers in the country have demanded the government to move a bill for amendment in the constitution to stop appointment of ad hoc judges in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has termed the appointment of ad hoc judges ‘against the independence of judiciary’, rejecting the impression that it would help relieve backlog of pending cases. “Although the Constitution allows appointment of ad hoc judges, the power of appointing ad hoc judges was misused in the past,” SCBA president Barrister Ali Zafar said during a press conference yesterday. “Now again, the policy of liking and disliking is being seen,” said Mr Zafar, adding that they did not want any conflict.

On Thursday, a judicial commission had recommended names of two former judges - Tariq Pervez and Khilji Arif Hussain - for their appointment as ad hoc judges of the Supreme Court for a period of one year.

The lawyers’ body demands the government to move a bill for the amendment of Article 182 of the Constitution. “We will decide the future plan by taking everyone into confidence, if our demands were not met,” said Barrister Zafar.

“Should this decision not revised, the matter of ad hoc judges’ appointment will automatically be resolved.”

On Friday, SCBA secretary Asad Manzoor Butt said adhoc judges could not be appointed in the light of judges’ case decision.

“If SC wants to dispose of pending cases it should ask government for enhancement of number of judges in SC from 17 to 21 but adhoc judges’ appointment is not a solution to the problem,” Mr Butt said.

Former SCBA president Asma Jahangir said the bar would launch a protest movement against such appointments and would not accept adhoc judges. “It is highly unreasonable for retired judges to look for jobs.

“The Supreme Court directed the government to abstain from appointment of adhoc officers but it did not follow its own order.”