KARACHI: A large section of the legal fraternity on Saturday announced boycott all court functions to be held for the retiring judges of the Supreme Court in protest against filing of references by the government against senior judges in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
They also claimed that the SJC had become incompetent to hear the presidential references against the judges over its demonstrated bias by disposing of one of the two references filed against Justice Faez Isa.
The petitions filed by Justice Isa, the Pakistan Bar Council and the Supreme Court Bar Association, referred to the references filed against Justice Isa and Justice Karim Khan Agha of the Sindh High Court and contended that they be placed before the full bench of the SC.
These announcements were made at the All Pakistan Lawyers Convention hosted by the Karachi Bar Association on Saturday at the city courts and a meeting of the lawyers action committee of the representatives of all bar councils and associations at the Sindh Bar Council’s office held on Saturday night in the Sindh High Court.
The participants unanimously adopted a resolution at the convention declaring that the references against Justice Isa and Justice Agha were frivolous, concocted and mala fide and were an attempt by the government to muzzle and remove the independent judges and subjugate the independence of the judiciary in retaliation to the Faizabad dharna judgement authored by Justice Isa. The lawyers deprecated what they termed non-transparency in the SJC’s proceedings on the references, arbitrariness in the listing and hearing of the references against the judges as well as the selective publication of its decisions in some references.
“The representatives of the bar councils and bar associations shall boycott all the full court references and receptions for the retiring SC judges,” stated the resolution.
The lawyers condemned the restrictions imposed on the freedom of the media. The convention authorised the bars’ representatives to liaise and coordinate with the journalists and media organisations, civil society groups and political parties to effectively combat the same.
The convention also endorsed the statement given by the Pakistan Bar Council and its vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah regarding the undesirability of granting three-year extension in service to the Chief of the Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa. The lawyers’ representatives demanded that there should be no extension in service granted to heads of any institution in the country.
Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2019