ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) finally made up its mind on Monday, instituting a petition to challenge the filing of presidential references against two superior court judges which the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) is seized with.
“You will see that a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution will be filed before the Supreme Court soon, challenging the references filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice K.K. Agha of the Sindh High Court,” said PBC vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah while talking to Dawn.
The idea to file such a petition was proposed by three senior members of PBC through a resolution in the form of a letter to PBC secretary by former presidents of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Rasheed A. Razvi, Kamran Murtaza and Akhtar Hussain, on July 30.
The resolution had stated that the legal fraternity was of unanimous view that the government was bent upon subduing the independent judiciary since it had filed the references against upright, honest and competent judges of superior courts. If this practice went unchecked and unopposed, there was a likelihood that the government might continue to attack the judiciary to achieve its “ulterior motives and designs”, it said.
The resolution recalled that the bar had always struggled for the supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law and the judiciary’s independence, rendering great sacrifices for these cherished objectives.
The resolution was circulated among members of the 22-man PBC through email, WhatsApp and TCS for their views.
Most office-bearers supported the passage of the proposed resolution,
But Abdul Sattar Khan and Mian Mohammad Shafiq Bhandara opposed it.
A senior member, Raheel Kamran Sheikh, endorsed the resolution as well as filing of any constitutional petition in the apex court to ensure transparency in the process of judicial accountability and fairness in SJC’s inquiry procedure.
He also suggested that Justice Isa and Justice Agha challenge the filing of references against them.
And if the judges decided to do so, the PBC could choose to support such a petition, suggested Raheel Sheikh.
On the call of the PBC, all the provincial bar councils, SCBA, the high court, district and tehsil/taluka bar associations have been agitating against the filing of references against the superior court judges and even organised lawyers’ conventions in the federal capital as well as some of the provincial capitals.
But despite constant agitation of the bar, the government has not paid heed to their demand for withdrawal of the references, the resolution lamented.
Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2019