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References against judges: Lawyers ask SJC to make its proceedings public

July 13, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The legal fraternity on Friday demanded of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to make public the outcome of the proceedings of presidential references filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice Karim Khan (KK) Agha of the Sindh High Court.

A five-member bench of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh and Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth resumed the hearing in the references. It was learnt that the SJC in-camera meeting lasted for about two hours wherein Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan submitted his replication in response to the replies earlier submitted by Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice KK Agha.

After hearing the arguments, the Council adjourned the proceedings, however, the outcome of the proceedings is yet to be known. After appearing before the Council, Attorney General while going to his office avoided to answer the questions of the media persons and remained tight-lipped as usual. Has the Council issued notices”, The News asked AG while he was entering the elevator of the Supreme Court. The learned AG, however, did not respond but gave a smiling gesture.

Meanwhile as per schedule, the lawyers staged a sit-in at the entrance of the Supreme Court to express solidarity with the two judges of the superior courts. Soon after the SJC hearing, senior lawyers and leaders of the lawyers organisations including Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Syed Amjad Shah and former presidents of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) including Hamid Khan who is also senior leader of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Yasin Azad and Ali Ahmed Kurd demanded of the SJC to inform the public about its proceedings.

Addressing the media outside the Supreme Court, PBC Vice Chairman Syed Amjad Shah said that although the SJC has the discretion to hold its in-camera meeting however, he said as the whole nation is looking at the matter very closely therefore, he said the Council should inform the public about the outcome of its proceedings.

“It is our demand that the SJC should inform the public about its proceedings on the references filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice KK Agha”, Amjad Shah said. He said today they have all the lawyers’ leaders like Hamid Khan, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Yasin Azad as well as lawyers’ leaders from the four provinces. He said these leaders want to give an opportunity to the Council to dismiss the reference at the earliest. He said today (Saturday) the Lawyers’ Convention is being held at the Peshawar High Court Bar wherein the legal fraternity will forge unity among its ranks and express solidarity with Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice KK Agha besides protecting the independence of judiciary.

Hamid Khan said the lawyers would continue their struggle for the independence of judiciary and expressed the hope the SJC would dismiss the references in accordance with law. He said those who are bent upon influencing the judiciary have to be discouraged.

Yasin Azad alleged that the instant references have been filed using force hence they will not allow anyone to attack the independence of judiciary. “We gently request to take back these references”, said Ali Ahmed Kurd, former SCBA president.

He said they have already declared that the instant references against Justice Isa and KK Agha were filed on mala fide intention hence they should be withdrawn at the earliest. “Don’t force us as we have decided and will observe nationwide strike today (Saturday) for the protection of judiciary”, Kurd said adding they are fighting for the judges of the superior courts.

“Today it is Justice Qazi Isa and tomorrow will be the turn of another judge therefore we have decided to protect the independence of judiciary”, Kurd concluded.

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