ISLAMABAD: For­m­­er chief justice of Pakis­tan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry expressed lack of confidence in a judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday and requested him not to hear his lawsuit against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

The PTI chief had ac­­c­u­­sed retired Justice Ifti­khar Chaudhry of being a party to, what he cal­led, poll rigging in the 2013 general election.

The former CJP termed these allegations defamatory and took Imran Khan to court, claiming Rs20 billion in damages.

An IHC division bench, comprising Justice Mian­gul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Babar Sattar, is scheduled to hear the case on Feb 9.

Justice Iftikhar Chau­d­hry filed a civil miscellaneous application before the IHC, requesting Justice Babar Sattar to recuse himself from hearing the case as the judge had written newspaper articles in 2013 and 2014 criticising the then chief justice.

Babar Sattar had written the articles bef­ore becoming a judge.

His “bias is floating on the surface against the petitioner [Justice Chau­dhry],” the former chief justice said, citing excerpts from the columns.

He stated in the application that Justice Babar criticised the petitioner as chief justice of Pakistan, particularly after his restoration as the country’s top judge in 2009 “because of his [Justice Sattar’s] bias”.

“Therefore, the lear­ned judge may not adorn the bench as judge,” the application stated.

The application asked the court that “the learned judge may recuse himself from hearing the petition in the interest of justice”.

The former chief justice filed the application through his counsel, Mohi­­uddin Aamir Mu­­ghal, and cited Imran Khan as respondent.

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2023

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