ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah has issued a nationwide strike call for Saturday (July 13) when the PBC will hold a convention to protest the filing of references against two superior court judges by the government.
The filing of the presidential references against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice K.K. Agha of the Sindh High Court was an attempt to subdue the independent judiciary, Mr Shah said.
The PBC vice chairman and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president had announced on July 2 — the day the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) took up the references for a second time — that an awareness drive would be launched across the country to muster strength for initiating a full-fledged movement for the independence of the judiciary. As a first step, a lawyers’ convention will be held on July 13 at the Peshawar High Court building, followed by several other conventions in different parts of the country.
To make the movement a success, the SCBA had constituted a 10-member coordination committee under its president Amanullah Kanrani as convener with a task to interact with lawyers’ representative bodies across the country.
PBC to hold convention at Peshawar as part of drive for independence of judiciary
One of the agenda items to be deliberated upon at the convention is about the functioning of vigilance committees earlier constituted by the joint meeting of the representatives of bar councils and bar associations for gathering/collecting information regarding inefficiency or incompetency of a sitting judge or any judge with the reputation of being corrupt.
On July 13, the lawyers would hold protest demonstrations across the country, whereas the legal fraternity will also attend the convention, scheduled to be held at 3pm at the office of the Peshawar High Court Bar Association, said the PBC vice chairman.
Besides condemning the filing of the references against the two honourable judges, the convention will also deliberate upon a host of other issues such as mounting pressure on lawmakers for making an amendment to Article 175-A of the Constitution, which deals with the elevation of the superior court judges.
This amendment, the vice chairman stated, would ensure evolving a transparent mechanism for judges’ appointment to superior courts by taking all the stakeholders on board and ensuring a meaningful consultation with them in the process.
The convention will also discuss evolving parameters, by way of amendments to the Supreme Court Rules 1980, to exercise powers by the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) and to provide the right of appeal to an affected party before a larger bench of the apex court.
The convention will reiterate the longstanding demand for making public the details of pending references or complaints so far filed against judges of the superior courts under Article 209 of the Constitution and the references/complaints, which stand decided or disposed of by the SJC with detail of decisions taken.
The PBC vice chairman said that the SJC should also give an update on the references still pending before the council.
Earlier, the SJC had explained that the council had received 426 references or complaints and all of them were processed. After going through different stages of process, 398 cases were disposed of while 28 cases, including the two presidential references, were pending before it. All such cases were in process and would be disposed of in due course of time, the SJC had stated.
The PBC vice chairman said that the convention among other demands would also sought regular allocation of discretionary funds by the respective government to the bar councils and bar associations at different tiers under Section 57 of the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2019