Resignations of CJs end AJK crisis12 May 2010
MUZAFFARABAD: Justice Reaz Akhtar Chaudhry, the non-functional chief justice of the AJK Supreme Court, and Manzoor Hussain Gillani, the acting chief justice, resigned on Monday, ending the month-long judicial crisis in the region. They sent their resignations to President Raja Zulqarnain Khan who appointed Justice Khwaja Shahad Ahmed, the only permanent judge of the apex court, as Acting Chief Justice. According to sources, the minus-two formula was worked out after hectic negotiations and intervention by influential quarters. Justice Ahmed was administered oath by the president at the Kashmir House in Islamabad. Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and ministers and senior government officials attended the oath-taking ceremony. Earlier, the AJK law department issued notifications about the acceptance of resignations of Justice Reaz and Justice Gillani and the appointment of Justice Ahmed. Section 42(8) of AJK Interim Constitution Act of 1974 empowers the president to appoint the acting chief justice. He can also appoint the permanent chief justice, but on the advice of the AJK Council chairman (the prime minister of Pakistan). Prime Minister Haider had on April 3 sent a reference to Acting President Shah Ghulam Qadir against Justice Reaz, accusing him of subverting and violating the constitution and committing misconduct. The reference was filed in the region's Supreme Judicial Council. It rendered Justice Reaz dysfunctional pending an inquiry and final report of the SJC headed by Justice Gillani and comprising High Court Chief Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal and ad-hoc judge Chaudhry Ibrahim Zia. President Raja Zulqarnain was shocked by the development and he cut short his UK visit and returned home the following day. He ordered withdrawal of the reference and reinstatement of the non-functional chief justice, but the order was not implemented by the government which said it was unconstitutional. On April 7, the president reportedly constituted a parallel SJC and filed a reference against Justice Gillani and Justice Mughal.