ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association on Tuesday moved an application requesting the apex court to commence the hearing of a set of petitions, which challenged the filing of a reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, in the first week of November, instead of Oct 28, when the SCBA annual elections would be over.
A 10-judge full court had on Monday decided to resume the hearing on the presidential reference on Oct 28, though at the outset they informed the counsel for Justice Isa that they would request Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa for the reconstitution of the full court.
The decision to continue with the hearing was taken when the full court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, was informed that Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, who was unavailable for hearing on Monday, would resume his duty next Monday.
On Tuesday, the SCBA moved a single-page application asking the apex court to adjourn the matter to a date in the week beginning from Nov 4. It stated that the present petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution was pending before the Supreme Court and was fixed for hearing on Oct 28 before the full court.
PBC warns KP government against amending laws to prevent people from participating in opposition’s long march
It informed the court that the SCBA annual elections were scheduled for Oct 31 and all advocates of the Supreme Court, including the petitioners’ counsel in the case, would be busy throughout the next week beginning from Oct 28.
Moreover, the application said, travelling conditions throughout the country were likely to be disturbed during the next week in view of the impending march on the federal capital on Oct 31 by different political parties in the opposition.
“It may kindly be noticed that the present petition and a number of other connected petitions have been filed by the leading bar associations and bar councils from all over Pakistan,” the application said, adding that the counsel in these cases came from different parts of the country, particularly from Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Lahore, for appearance before the full court.
Due to disturbed travelling conditions during the next week, it might not be possible for the counsel to travel to Islamabad to attend these cases, the application said.
Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah expressed concern on reports that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was considering amending relevant laws in order to prevent people from proceeding to Islamabad to participate in the opposition’s long march.
If true, this amounted to an attempt on the part of the ruling party to deny the people of their fundamental constitutional right of association and protest, and therefore, highly condemnable, he said in a statement.
Mr Shah warned the government that if any unconstitutional step was taken either to make any draconian law or forcefully deny the people of their legitimate constitutional right to protest, the legal fraternity would oppose tooth and nail and not hesitate even to launch a nationwide campaign against such actions.
He asked the government to refrain from making any amendment to laws just to create impediment to the exercise of legitimate right of the people to lodge their peaceful protest through the long march, in the interest of continuity of the democratic process and to safeguard fundamental rights of the people as guaranteed in the Constitution.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019