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Sindh lawyers’ bodies reject call for SC judge’s removal

Updated April 22, 2019

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Condemn PBC’s executive committee for raising objection to KBA’s petition about former IHC judge Shaukat Siddiqui. — APP/File
Condemn PBC’s executive committee for raising objection to KBA’s petition about former IHC judge Shaukat Siddiqui. — APP/File

KARACHI: Four bodies of lawyers in Sindh have condemned a resolution passed by the Punjab Bar Council’s (PBC) executive committee on Saturday in which they had raised objection to a petition filed by the Karachi Bar Association (KBA) in the Supreme Court, challenging the decision to remove former judge of the Islamabad High Court Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.

In a joint resolution passed on Sunday, the Sindh Bar Council, Sindh High Court Bar Association, Karachi Bar Association and Malir Bar Association also criticised the PBC’s executive committee for demanding the removal of Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court.

They reiterated their resolve and expressed solidarity with the principled stance of the KBA. They said it was unfortunate that the PBC had tried to sabotage the unity of the legal fraternity across the country by going out of the way to criticise the KBA even though it did not fall within its executive authority. “This high-handedness towards bar associations of smaller provinces is intolerable. Such an act, coming at the heels of an extremely successful All Pakistan Lawyers Representative Conference hosted by the Karachi Bar Association, can only be termed mala fide and mischievous,” said the joint resolution.

Condemn PBC’s executive committee for raising objection to KBA’s petition about former IHC judge Shaukat Siddiqui

It said that members of the PBC’s executive committee had either not read or they were unable to understand the petition filed by the KBA in the apex court in relation to Mr Siddiqui. “The KBA petition does not hold any brief for the individual person of Mr Shaukat Siddiqui. However, it rightly calls for a full inquiry and investigation to be conducted into the allegations of Mr Shaukat Siddiqui regarding interference by intelligence agencies in judicial matters.” Unfortunately, it added, the Supreme Judicial Council failed to conduct such inquiry during the course of the proceedings against Mr Siddiqui.

The resolution said it was very unfortunate that the PBC’s executive committee had levelled allegations against Justice Isa. The PBC’s executive committee in its resolution claimed that by criticising the role of the country’s intelligence agencies in the Faizabad sit-in case’s judgement, Justice Isa had strengthened the narrative of India and its intelligence agency RAW.

Rejecting the PBC’s demand for removal of Justice Isa, the resolution said: “Justice Qazi Faez Isa enjoys an unblemished reputation for competence, integrity and independence and his only flaw seems to be his readiness to speak the truth and unwillingness to take instructions in the performance of his official functions whether it be the Quetta carnage commission report or the Faizabad dharna judgement.”

They expressed their disappointment with the six members of the PBC’s executive committee, saying that they were elected to be the voice of the legal fraternity, but had chosen, instead, to become “puppets of the puppet master”.

They claimed that the resolution of the PBC’s executive committee, in fact, strengthened the perception that there were unknown forces seeking to influence and pressurise the judiciary and it strengthened the resolve and commitment of all genuine representatives of the legal fraternity to counter and resist all such moves.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2019