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Tuesday April 16, 2024

Audio leaks: Bar councils to file references against SC judge

Pakistan Bar Council convenes meeting to mull reference against judge

By Sohail Khan
February 22, 2023
Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Chairman Executive Committee Hassan Raza Pasha holding a meeting of inter-provincial coordination committee in Islamabad on December 15, 2022. — Facebook/PBC
Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Chairman Executive Committee Hassan Raza Pasha holding a meeting of inter-provincial coordination committee in Islamabad on December 15, 2022. — Facebook/PBC

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Tuesday announced that bar councils across the country will file separate references next week in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) under Article 209 of the Constitution against a judge of the Supreme Court on a matter of audio leaks.

Last week, audio leaks purportedly involving former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi and a judge of the apex court went viral on social media.

The decision was taken during a meeting held here in the Supreme Court, convened by the Pakistan Bar Council, which invited the heads of all the provincial bar councils and the Islamabad Bar Council to make deliberations over finalising the reference against the judge.

Later, after the meeting, Hassan Raza Pasha, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), while briefing the media outside the Supreme Court, said that they had invited the vice-chairmen of all provincial bar councils, including the Islamabad Bar Council.

Along with Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council Haroonur Rashid and heads of all provincial bar councils, Islamabad Bar Council President Hassan Raza Pasha stated that the issue of the audio leak was thoroughly deliberated upon during the meeting, in addition to discussing the current situation.

He said that they had previously demanded that the chief justice of Pakistan conduct a forensic audit of the audio leaks that had gone viral on social media but the CJP did not respond.

He said that they had also asked the CJP that those responsible for the audio leak whether fake or genuine should be held accountable.

According to Hassan Raza Pasha, it was unanimously decided during the meeting that the Bar councils of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Peshawar, and Islamabad will file separate references in the Supreme Judicial Council under Article 209 of the Constitution against the Supreme Court judge.

He said that those judges were ignored and junior judges are being appointed in the superior judiciary because they do not work with spirit, adding that those judges who are not capable of being appointed to the Supreme Court are also not suitable for high courts as well.

They also demanded that the Judicial Commission of Pakistan draft rules for the elevation of judges to the country’s superior courts, and the government pass legislation to give the aggrieved party the right to appeal against decisions made by the Supreme Court while exercising its original jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

Hassan Raza Pasha also stated that the Pakistan Bar Council will send a notice to Supreme Court Bar Association President Abid S Zubairi, and will request a response from him.

“We expect that after the audio leaks, the judge will resign from his post,” Pasha said. He demanded that the government withdraw the review petition filed on the Supreme Court’s judgment on the reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, claiming that the reference was filed in bad faith.

It is pertinent to mention that after the audio leaks went viral on social media, Supreme Court Bar Association President Abid S Zubairi termed them “doctored.”

In a statement, he stated that audio is circulating on social media in which he is reported to be conversing with Pervaiz Elahi, which implies that he is asking him to influence some proceedings in the Supreme Court.

“I have gone through the audio recording, and I categorically state that this audio is doctored,” Zubairi said, adding that his office is doing a case in the Sindh High Court of a “missing person,” one Mr. Muhammad Khan Bhatti, who was a close aide of Mr. Elahi and had a conversation in this regard.

He said that this case has nothing to do with any pending proceedings in the Supreme Court of Ghulam Mehmood Dogar’s case, which he has been handling as a lawyer since November 28, 2022, and in which interim orders are in effect.