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June 14, 2019

Reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa: PBC boycotts courts as SJC takes up case today

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June 14, 2019

ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) takes up presidential references against the SC judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Karim Khan (KK) Agha of Sindh High Court today (Friday), the lawyers will observe a peaceful countrywide strike to express solidarity with Justice Isa.

The SJC had issued a notice to the attorney general for today (Friday) directing him to attend the proceedings. The references had been filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Karim Khan for having properties in London but not disclosing them in their wealth statements.

Justice Isa has already rejected the allegations saying that he and his family had been maliciously maligned by half-truth and innuendos by members of the government which was deeply distressing for his family and himself.

Addressing the media outside the Supreme Court, President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Amanullah Kanrani said they will stage a peaceful protest outside the Supreme Court on Friday where the SJC will be taking up the presidential references.

He said as a mark of protest they will burn (symbolically) the copies of reference filed against Justice Isa adding that lawyers will stage a peacefulprotest across the country.

“We will come to the Supreme Court at 9am and sit outside the court till the conclusion of SJC proceedings,” Kanrani said, adding that their sit–in was aimed at showing their hatred for the government.

He said around 350 complaints against judges were pending with the Supreme Judicial Council but it chose to proceed with the reference filed against Justice Isa. He said that SCBA is bound to accept Pakistan Bar Council's decision to boycott courts.

Though Kanrani has repeatedly announced his protest as the SCBA President, the other office-bearers belonging to Asma Jehangir Group have disassociated themselves from him, saying they had not been taken on board for the protest as the SCBA president had given the strike call in his personal capacity.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore the other day, SCBA Secretary Azmatullah Chaudhry had distanced himself from Kanrani’s stance. He said Kanrani’s views did not represent the whole bar adding that the reference against judges had not been discussed so far in any meeting of the bar’s executive committee.

Kanrani, however, showed the media a copy of the minutes of Executive Committee meeting held on May 30 and its decision to observe June 14 as the solidarity day with the judiciary. While Kanrani was talking to the media, Azmatullah Chaudhry arrived at the Supreme Court but passed on and entered the Supreme Court building. The media persons invited him to talk but he did not stop.

Later on, talking to the media in the Press Association room at the Supreme Court, Azmatullah said they will also hold a press conference on Friday at in the Supreme Court at 11am.

He rejected Kanrani’s claim of May 30 meeting saying that there was no such agenda in the meeting. He said they believed in the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution. He said Justice Isa was equally respectable for the whole legal fraternity but the reference against him was sub judice with the council, which was a constitutional forum.

“Let the Supreme Judicial Council hear the reference and decide the case on merit and in accordance with the law. Some people are agitating the matter out of context for personal interests,” he added.

Meanwhile, SCBA’s former president Ali Ahmed Kurd said the SJC was a very weak forum that had yet to decide lots of pending complaints filed against the superior court judges. Talking to media outside the Supreme Court, he said he said the council chose to take up the reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa at the earliest.

He said in six months, two cases were filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa with the apex court. Replying to a question, he said he had no personal relationship with Justice Qazi Faez Isa but when the whole legal fraternity had decided to stage a countrywide protest, they will stand by the legal fraternity.

“Without referring to the recent judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in Faizabad sit-in case, Kurd said for the first time in the judicial history of the country lots of review petitions had been filed against the judgment of the apex court.