ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Registrar Arbab Muhammad Arif has written to his counterpart in the Peshawar High Court Muhammad Saleem Khan a letter explaining reasons why no reference was held on the eve of retirement of Justice Dost Muhammad Khan.

The letter was written to remove misgivings after PHC Chief Justice Yahya Afridi called on Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar to convey resentment expressed by the Peshawar High Court Bar Association (PHCBA) over holding no reference in honour of Justice Khan on Monday.

The absence of the reference and subsequent dinners by the Supreme Court as well as the Pakistan Bar Council and the Supreme Court Bar Association had stirred rumours and speculations about a conspiracy behind not holding the reference.

Explaining the factual position, the SC registrar recalled that the personal secretary to Justice Khan had sent a note to the registrar, stating that Justice Khan did not intend to attend the reference, likely to be arranged as per past practice in his honour on the eve of his retirement.

The note explained that due to unavoidable family engagements Justice Khan would be unable to sit in the bench and work in the court on March 19 and would conduct only chamber work.

“Due to the prevailing circumstances and for the family engagements, it will be impossible for the judge to sit in the reference, to be arranged in his honour on his laying robes of office and, therefore, he regrets for non-participation in the proposed reference which may be graciously cancelled,” the note said.

The SC registrar’s letter said that the chief justice, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan sought time from Justice Khan to see him in his chamber to persuade him to attend the reference, but instead Justice Khan called on the chief justice in his chamber and said that due to unavoidable family commitments he could neither attend the reference nor the dinner.

Despite being persuaded by the chief justice, Justice Khan declined to attend the reference, the letter said, adding that the chief justice then in deference to the desire of Justice Khan agreed and invited the judge for tea.

Later a simple yet dignified ceremony was held in honour of Justice Khan in the Supreme Court on Monday, which was attended by the chief justice and other judges of the apex court.

The judges lauded professional and legal acumen of Justice Khan and praised his devotion and dedication for the cause of justice.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018