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Judiciary’s sanctity at stake

During the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed that the controversy ‘must be looked into’ as the meetings by the judge are ‘unusual and extraordinary’ and the issue is of the judiciary’s integrity.

sanctity

News Desk |

The Supreme Court has directed the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) to provide assistance on petitions requesting the court for an independent judicial inquiry of the video scandal involving accountability court judge Arshad Malik.

On Tuesday, the apex court sought legal assistance from AGP as it heard petitions asking for a probe into the video scandal.

During the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed that the controversy ‘must be looked into’ as the meetings by the judge are ‘unusual and extraordinary’ and the issue is of the judiciary’s integrity.

The top judge wondered why the judge had held meetings with people connected to individuals he had convicted. “It would be better if a retired SC judge heads the inquiry commission,” said a counsel when asked who should lead the probe.

The petitioners have prayed the court to conduct a judicial inquiry in the matter. Following the hearing, the cases were adjourned till July 23.

Justice Bandial identified three key issues that need to be taken into consideration: the sanctity of the institution, the correctness of the judgment and any misconduct by the judge under scrutiny.

He added that there is a competent court to decide on the correctness of judgment while laws exist for the initiation of misconduct proceeding against the judge if need be.

He expressed concern regarding the sanctity of the institution, saying the issue is very serious and the sanctity should be protected but can be taken up when the “dust has settled to avoid emotional reactions”.

The three petitions—filed by Ishtiaq Mirza, Sohail Akhtar and Tariq Hassan advocate—requested the apex court to conduct a thorough investigation into the controversial video of the judge.

Read more: Leaked video controversy: Will IHC take administrative action against Judge Arshad Malik?

The petitioners have name Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Maryam Nawaz, Nawaz Sharif and former president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as respondents. Maryam flanked by senior-most party leaders had unveiled a video in news conference showing judge Malik confessing before a PML-N worker Nasir Butt that he was pressured into convicting the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia reference.

The petitioners have prayed the court to conduct a judicial inquiry in the matter. Following the hearing, the cases were adjourned till July 23.

Special Security Measures

On July 15, the top court issued directives detailing the security protocol for Tuesday’s hearing. The directives stated that entry in its premises should be regulated through special passes issued by security.

Read more: Rise of Judiciary in Pakistan: No more Lions under the throne

“Only the petitioners/respondents whose cases are fixed in court will be allowed to enter in Supreme Court premises,” it stated. The apex court, however, added that advocates and journalists who regularly come for the top court’s proceedings will be exempted from passes.

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