LAHORE: The Women’s Action Forum and some pro-democracy citizens have filed a reference against Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar before the Supreme Judicial Council at the Supreme Court in Islamabad.

Farhatullah Babar, Afrasiab Khatak, Nighat Saeed Khan, Farieha Aziz, Rubina Sehgal and others, who are among 98 signatories to the reference filed on Oct 10, said the petition accused the Chief Justice of misconduct.

Seeking inquiry into complaints against the top judge, the petition read out by Ms Aziz alleged that “through his remarks and actions he has indulged in conduct unbecoming of a judge, politicised the judiciary, violated the principles of the separation of powers, and demonstrated negligence and inability to adjudicate in any independent, neutral, non-partisan and impartial manner.

“He has failed to keep his office free of controversy or to discharge the mountainous heaps of pending cases that plague the judiciary and prevent it from serving as an efficacious provider of justice and due process to the citizens.”

The petition said that if this reference was taken up, the inquiry must be instituted by a judicial officer other than the respondent to ensure the proceedings were fair.

Insisting that filing of the reference is in public and national interest, Ms Aziz said “it’s the only lawful avenue available to record our protest and seek a corrective course — which is our right”.

She said the petitioners were advised against filing the petition to avert “contempt proceedings” and “an inquisition with harassment”, but they had decided to take the risks for “…reclaiming the balance of powers and restoring some semblance of a systemic and pro-people, democratic method of regular dispensation of justice in Pakistan”.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2018



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