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PBC rejects demand for apex court judge’s removal

Updated April 23, 2019

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The Pakistan Bar Council on Monday rejected a demand by the Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) for immediate removal of a Supreme Court judge, Justice Qazi Faez Isa. — File
The Pakistan Bar Council on Monday rejected a demand by the Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) for immediate removal of a Supreme Court judge, Justice Qazi Faez Isa. — File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council — the mother body that regulates the affairs of the legal fraternity — on Monday rejected a demand by the Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) for immediate removal of a Supreme Court judge, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, and described its resolution as uncalled for, unnecessary that transgresses the independence of judiciary.

An emergency meeting of the PBC’s executive committee also resolved that Justice Isa was an upright and competent judge of the apex court, who always discharged judicial functions without any fear and favour.

The current campaign against Justice Isa started after a strongly worded judgement the judge authored in which directions were issued to the Ministry of Defence, respective chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force to penalise personnel under their command found to have violated their oath.

Likewise, the federal government was also asked to monitor those advocating hate, extremism and terrorism and prosecute the perpetrators in accordance with the law. In addition adverse observations were also made against a number of government departments for causing inconvenience to the residents against the backdrop of a 20-day-long dharna which paralysed life in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Pakistan Bar Council describes PbBC’s resolution as uncalled for, unnecessary that transgresses independence of judiciary

Last Saturday, the PbBC’s executive committee carried a resolution demanding removal of Justice Isa for what it believed allegedly ridiculing the armed forces in the judgement he authored in the case related to the Faizabad dharna (sit-in) November 2017 by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

The PbBC resolution had also regretted that the judgement in the Faizabad dharna case had allegedly mutilated towering principles of the law.

Subsequently on Sunday, four bodies of lawyers in Sindh in a joint resolution condemned PbBC demand and expressed solidarity with Justice Isa.

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

On Monday, a meeting of the PBC’s executive committee which was presided over by its chairman Hafiz Mohammad Idris Shaikh observed that the comments relating to the judgement authored by Justice Isa was uncalled for. The meeting was attended by PBC vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah, Mohammad Ahsan Bhoon, Azam Nazeer Tarar, Mohammad Yousaf Laghari and Syed Qalbe Hassan.

The legal fraternity in Pakistan will never support any move against the supremacy of the constitution and independence of the judiciary, the PBC resolution said.

The decisions taken during the meeting was also appreciated and supported by different bar councils and bar associations consisting of vice chairmen and chairmen executive committees of the provincial and Islamabad Bar Councils, presidents of the high court and district bar associations from different parts of the country.

The judgement authored by Justice Isa had also evoked a number of review petitions which have been moved by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the Ministry of Defence, Intelligence Bureau (IB), Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Ejaz-ul-Haq and the Muttahida Quami Movement.

One of the review petitions by the defence ministry had pleaded before the apex court to set aside explicit or implicit adverse observations implicating the armed forces and or the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in particular the declaration to the armed forces be recalled.

This is not the first event when Justice Isa has been made a target. Earlier the PBC had adopted a resolution in April 6, 2018 against the backdrop of a hearing of a petition moved before the Supreme Court challenging the appointment of Justice Isa though the petition was dismissed by the apex court.

A strongly worded March 28, 2018 resolution was also carried by the Karachi Bar Association questioning the filing of the petition, wondering if the recent emergence of the petition a mere coincidence or an attempt by non-democratic forces to intimidate independent judges and linked to courageous report of Justice Isa in the Quetta carnage case as well as his orders and observations made in the Faizabad dharna case regarding the performance of intelligence agencies and other state functionaries.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2019