ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) formally commences the second hearing of references against the two superior court judges on Tuesday (today), the fissures among the legal fraternity become more evident with one section of the lawyers community calling for a strike while the other rejecting it.
A five-member SJC consisting of Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh and Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth will start hearing of the references at 2pm against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court for allegedly possessing three properties in the name of his wife and children and Justice K.K. Agha of the SHC for having two properties in the United Kingdom.
On June 14, the SJC after a preliminary hearing decided to share the documents with the judges and directed them to volunteer and clarify their position on the allegations levelled in the complaint against them. However, the judges were not issued any formal show-cause notice under the Supreme Judicial Council Procedure of Enquiry 2005.
It is not clear whether the two judges will appear in person before the SJC to explain their position or will furnish written replies or engage a counsel of their choice to represent them before the council.
On Monday, a Lawyers Action Committee held a Pakistan Law Convention to reject the call given by the Pakistan Bar Council — the apex body of law — to observe July 2 as a black day.
A lawyers action committee rejects Pakistan Bar Council’s call to observe July 2 as a black day
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Amanullah Kanrani had also asked the representatives of different bar councils and bar associations to observe protest demonstrations with a word of caution to demonstrate unity instead of letting differences crop up in their ranks.
But on Monday, a number of representatives from different bar councils and association like the Islamabad Bar Association, Punjab Bar Council, Multan Bar Association, Sargodha Bar Association, Mandi Bahauddin Bar Association and many others rejected the strike call and said that they would not repeat the events of the 2007 lawyers movement.
The convention was addressed among others by former PBC vice chairman Ramzan Chaudhry and former Islamabad Bar Association president Niazullah Niazi.
The speakers were of the view that the biggest malaise which was eating out the very vitals of the country was tolerance towards corruption, therefore an across-the-board accountability process should be encouraged in which not only politicians but also judges and people from other walks of life should be proceeded against without any discrimination.
They, however, said that whatever decision the SJC finally reached at will be accepted and supported.
The speakers said they will show indifference towards the strike call but warned that those holding brief of their political masters should desist from taking the law into their own hands.
They requested the SJC to decide all the references pending with it.
Meanwhile, PBC Vice Chairman Syed Amjad Shah announced that the lawyers will observe a nationwide strike on July 2 and hold protest meetings in the bar rooms.
The lawyers’ representatives will also assemble on the same day in the Supreme Court building, Islamabad, to express solidarity with the judges, besides a meeting of the Joint Action Committee will be held in the PBC to consider and chalk out the further programme of protest.
Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2019