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June 10, 2019

Reference against Justice Isa: Lawyers divided over protest on 14th

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June 10, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Lawyers Action Committee (LAC) on Sunday opposed the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) decision to launch a countrywide protest and refused to be a part of the strike against the references filed with SJC against Justice Qazi Faez Isa and a high court judge on June 14.

The LAC passed a resolution and decided to stand with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and said that according to Article 209 of the Constitution, judges could also be held accountable.

The legal community is divided in two groups on Justice Qazi Faez Isa issue as Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) demanded resignations of the law minister and attorney general of Pakistan, stating that the May 28 reference against the top court judge was based on ‘mala fide’ intentions while the lawyers’ committee opposed all demands of the PBC and decided to stand with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

The LAC had called an emergency meeting on Sundayin which lawyers of Islamabad Bar Association (IBA), Rawalpindi Bar Association (RBA), Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) and members of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) participated.

The committee also decided that it did not want to be the part of any political party. The government reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa is based on legal grounds. All judges could be appeared before Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) according to Article 209 for accountability. If reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa is based on ‘mala fide’ intentions, it will be rejected, LAC said.

The action committee has demanded of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) to take back its decision of observing strike on June 14. The committee also warned that they will not be the part of this strike.

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) former Vice Chairman Muhammad Ramzan Bhatti, Lawyers Action Committee senior member Rai Bashir Kharral and other senior lawyers also spoke on the occasion and strongly opposed the PBC decision of observing strike on June 14.

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) senior member Shafiq Bhandara has presented resolution that they are with Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) as the resolution was passed with big majority.

Meanwhile, the provincial bar councils after the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) have also announced a strike on June 14 over references filed by the government against Supreme Court judge Qazi Faez Isa and two judges of high court.

To ponder over the references against judges a meeting of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and all provincial bar councils was held at the Supreme Court during which the participants exchanged views on a future strategy in this regard and made some key decisions.

All bar councils have announced a strike on June 14 on account of a reference against Justice Isa. Talking to media after the meeting, PBC Vice Chairman Amjad Shah demanded withdrawal of reference against Justice Isa.

He said the meeting held on Sunday condemned Law Minister Farogh Naseem and Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan and demanded them to step down from their respective posts.

Amjad Shah said the minister and attorney general had both been part of the reference against Justice Isa. “The reference negates freedom of judiciary,” he maintained. The PBC vice chairman said their protest and campaign were not concerned with any institution or political party adding, “We will record our protest remaining within the ambit of law.”

“No verdict was announced in all pending references expressing astonishment as to why the government was bent upon such a weak reference,” he noted. “We have struggled for the freedom of judiciary and rule of law in the past and we will do so now as well,” Shah asserted.

Hafiz Idrees said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) served no notices on honourable judges terming the reference a violation of Article 10A as well. It is pertinent to mention here that SCBA had already announced holding a protest sit-in over reference filed against Justice Isa.

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