Pakistan Bar Council official calls for across-the-board accountability

Updated June 18, 2019

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Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah has called upon the government and the institutions concerned to ensure across-the-board accountability of all those who plundered the national wealth. — Reuters/File
Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah has called upon the government and the institutions concerned to ensure across-the-board accountability of all those who plundered the national wealth. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah has called upon the government and the institutions concerned to ensure across-the-board accountability of all those who plundered the national wealth. But, he added, in doing so the due process of law must be adhered to.

In a statement on Monday, he stressed the need for ensuring fundamental principles of laws in the process of accountability.

He supported the accountability process currently under way, saying it was not only the soul of democracy but also essential for strengthening the state’s institutions.

The PBC vice chairman’s statement has come in the wake of the commencement of government-sponsored references against two superior court judges — Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice K. K. Agha of the Sindh High Court — by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

Attorney general briefs prime minister on SJC’s preliminary hearing of references against judges

Mr Shah said selective accountability, being negation of standard operating procedures, would immensely damage the normal functioning of different organs of the state which might lead to chaos in the country and weaken the state.

Meanwhile, a source said that Attorney General Anwar Mansoor held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan and believed to have briefed him on the preliminary hearing of the references by the SJC.

The SJC held a closed-door session to commence the preliminary hearing of the references on June 14. AG Mansoor appeared before the SJC to advance arguments in support of the references which have accused the two judges of not declaring properties owned by their wives and children in the United Kingdom.

Lawyers’ organisations, including the PBC and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), held protest demonstrations across the country on June 14 against the filing of references against the two judges. At the conclusion of the lawyers’ demonstration in Islamabad, it was announced that the lawyers’ community would chalk out its future strategy after seeing the outcome of the SJC hearing.

Read: Mystery surrounds SJC hearing of references against judges

Meeting of bar councils

Talking to Dawn later in the day, Amjad Shah said he had already called a meeting of all bar councils and associations in Quetta on June 30.

Apart from other agenda items, the issue of references would also be taken up and decision would be made in accordance with the wishes of lawyers and the outcome of consultations.

“We are still standing firm for the independence of judiciary and the rule of law and Constitution and believe that no institution of the state should encroach upon the domain of other institutions,” he said.

“Had the judiciary not interfered in the affairs of parliament, we would not have seen the 19th Amendment which resulted in the introduction of Article 175-A of the Constitution — a provision dealing with the elevation and appointment of judges in the superior judiciary,” he further said.

Likewise, the executive should also desist from over awing the judiciary, he said, adding that interferences always immensely harm and weaken the state to the ultimate detrimental of the people of the country.

Therefore, he said, all pillars of the state should confine themselves to the assigned domains since such tendencies always weaken the state.

SCBA president Amanullah Kanrani has also explained that the association is a professional body and will decide the future line of action only after an official information about the SJC proceedings finally comes out. “We have already declared the point of view of the legal fraternity on the references loud and clear,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2019