Islamabad: Against the backdrop of a standoff between the executive and judiciary over the appointment of judges, Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Friday directed the government to issue a notification for extending the tenure of two judges of the Islamabad High Court.
An order issued by a five-judge bench headed by Justice Khilji Arif Hussain said a notification should be appointed for extending the terms of Justices Shaukat Siddiqui and Noorul Haq Qureshi, whose tenure as additional judges had ended on November 20.
The bench had yesterday reserved its judgement after completing proceedings on a constitutional petition filed by lawyer Nadim Ahmed against the government`s failure to grant an extension to the two judges even though the move had been approved by a Judicial Commission headed by the Chief Justice and a parliamentary panel that oversees the appointment of judges.
However, the bench was silent on an application filed by the government in which the apex court was asked to give its views on the President`s role in the appointment of judges.
President Asif Ali Zardari has refused to endorse the Judicial Commission`s decisions to give an extension to Justices Siddiqui and Qureshi and to appoint a new Chief Justice for the Islamabad High Court.
The President had sought the Supreme Court`s opinion on several questions of law related to the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
Justices Siddiqui and Qureshi were hearing several key cases, including one in which a former Army officer had challenged an unprecedented three-year extension granted to Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
The retired Army officer contended that Kayani cannot hold the post of Army chief as he had reached the age of retirement (60 years) on April 20.