PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth on Friday withdrew a contempt notice issued to Pakistan Bar Council vice-chairman Syed Amjad Shah after a delegation of senior lawyers from across the country called on him and requested him to drop the charges.

Few days ago, a notice was issued to the PBC vice-chairman through the high court’s additional registrar asking him to appear before the chief justice on Aug 30 in relation to certain allegations he had made in an interview on an internet channel on July 20.

The senior lawyers declared the meeting with the chief justice a jirga in line with the longstanding rich traditions of the province.

Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth began hearing into the case in the morning but it was put off at the request of senior lawyers.

The hearing resumed later in the day after a meeting with the ‘jirga’ members.

The visitors included Pakistan Bar Council executive committee chairman Hafiz Mohammad Idrees Sheikh, Peshawar High Court Bar Association president Abdul Lateef Afridi, KP advocate general Shumail Ahmad Butt, former president of Supreme Court Bar Association Fazle Haq Abbasi, Judicial Commission of Pakistan member Akhtar Hussain, Lahore High Court Bar Association president Mohammad Ahsan Bhoon, Sindh Bar Council member Abdul Haleem Siddiqui, KP Bar Council member Noor Alam Khan, vice-president and general secretary of the PHC Bar Association Abid Ali Khan and Ali Zaman respectively, and the president of Peshawar District Bar Association.

They requested the chief justice that the matter in hand warranted a magnanimous consideration.

“The Chief Justice was further apprised that these present firmly believe in the integrity and stature of this court and therefore, in the larger interest of both bar and the bench the notice of contempt against Syed Amjad Shah, vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, may graciously be withdrawn/ discharged,” a joint statement of the lawyers declared.

The visitors said a close liaison between the bar and the bench was necessary for the independence of judiciary and the rule of law in the country.

Mr Amjad Shah had given the interview in question to a journalist of Islamabad regarding certain recommendations made by the Judicial Commission for Appointment of Judges to fill the Peshawar High Court vacancies.

“This court honours and acknowledges the fundamental right to speech and expression cited in Article 19 of the Constitution but some portion of the interview appears to deviate from this right and appears to inflict contempt,” the notice issued to him had said.

It added that the PBC vice-chairman had made contemptuous and derogatory statements against the PHC chief justice.

The lawyers had boycotted the courts on last Monday on the call of the Pakistan Bar Council, which in the All Pakistan lawyers Convention held in Karachi on Aug 24 had condemned the issuance of the contempt notice to its vice-chairman and had called for the complete boycott of all courts.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2019