ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) intends to hold a protest to express its anger on the day the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) resumes the hearing of references against two superior court judges.
SCBA president Amanullah Kanrani has given a call to representatives of different bar councils and bar associations to observe a black day on July 2 when the five-member SJC will sit to hear the references.
It is believed that two senior judges namely Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice K. K. Agha of the Sindh High Court will be provided an opportunity to respond to the allegations of possessing properties in the United Kingdom but not disclosing them before the authorities under the relevant laws.
The judges were asked to offer their defence before the council in line with Section 8(3) of the Supreme Judicial Council Procedure of Enquiry, 2005.
Section 8(3) suggests that if the council is of the view that before forming an opinion, it should also hear the judge under the inquiry, it will require the accused judge to present himself before the council, which will provide him the information and the material received against him.
SCBA president gives call to lawyers’ bodies to observe black day on July 2
In case the judge opts not to volunteer his defence before the council, the preliminary session of the SJC will be considered concluded and the council will make an assessment to issue show cause notices the judges and proceed further.
It is not clear whether the two judges will furnish their written reply or appear in person before the council or may engage a counsel of their choice to represent them before the council.
The council had taken up the first hearing of the references on June 14 amidst protest demonstrations by lawyers across the country as well as inside the Supreme Court building.
Though a faction of lawyers defied the strike call and distanced itself from the PBC’s protest, the demonstrations by a majority of lawyer’s bodies were considered to be a success.
Meanwhile, Mr Kanrani told Dawn that he had a meeting with Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah on Tuesday here at the latter’s office in the Supreme Court building and discussed the idea of launching afresh the protest movement against the filing of references against the two judges.
During the meeting it was decided that both apex bodies of the legal fraternity would again observe solidarity day on July 2 to uphold the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law when SJC meeting would be held at the Supreme Court building in Islamabad.
On that day, the vice chairmen and presidents of all the provincial bar councils, high court bar associations as well as the district bar associations will congregate in Islamabad in a large number to participate in the protest on the call the SCBA.
A meeting of the PBC’s executive committee and other bar councils will also be called on that day in which lawyers will wear black armbands and hoist black flags on every bar room of the country, Mr Kanrani said.
“We will congregate at the Supreme Court building in Islamabad at around eleven o’clock in the morning and will remain seated until the proceedings of the SJC are over,” Mr Kanrani vowed.
“Since all leaders of the lawyers’ bodies will be available under one roof, we will hold a meeting to chalk out a future strategy, depending on the decision of the SJC,” Mr Kanrani said.
“In case the council decides to move forward and issue formal show cause notices to the judges, the lawyers will continue their protest demonstrations until the references are withdrawn by the government,” he said, adding they would celebrate if the SJC dropped further proceedings and furnished its opinion about the fate of the references to the president.
“We will closely watch the proceedings of the council.”
The government in its reference has alleged that the sources to acquire foreign properties by Justice Faez Isa’s wife and children were not accounted for, therefore the SJC should probe the matter to assess whether these properties were acquired through laundered money.
The government has also alleged that the judge has violated Section 116 (1) (b) and Section 116 (2) of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 by concealing foreign properties of his wife and children.
It is alleged in the reference against Justice Agha that although he declared his foreign properties in 2018, he did not disclose their value.
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2019