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Pakistan Bar Council gives call for country-wide strike on July 13

On June 14, the legion of lawyers had staged a protest outside the Supreme Court and burned copies of references filed against the apex court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Sindh High Court judge Justice KK Agha over non-disclosure of foreign properties in their wealth statements.

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Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has given a call for country-wide strike on July 13 on the presidential reference against the superior courts’ judges, saying the presidential references are an attempt to subdue judges.

The Peshawar High Court Bar Association will organize a lawyers’ convention at the Peshawar High Court premises. The methodology of judges’ appointment and amendment in Supreme Court Rules will also come under discussion at the convention.

Pakistan Bar Council has said discussion at length will take place for making the pending reference against the judges public and the matter related to the proceedings regarding references that have been disposed of.

The filing of the references, all eyes are on the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) which is hearing the references filed by President Arif Alvi against two superior court judges.

The matter related to the release of permanent funds for bar council and bar associations, as well as disqualification of judges, will also come under discussion.

Lawyers Protest, Burn Copies of References Outside SC

On June 14, the legion of lawyers had staged a protest outside the Supreme Court and burned copies of references filed against the apex court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Sindh High Court judge Justice KK Agha over non-disclosure of foreign properties in their wealth statements.

Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Amanullah Kanrarni had renewed his commitment to burn copies of the references outside the apex court as the lawyers across the country had observed strike on the call of PBC. To express solidarity with the judges, the lawyers wore black bands and demanded that the references against the judges be dropped.

Read more: Lawyers protest, burn copies of references outside SC

Since the filing of the references, all eyes are on the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) which is hearing the references filed by President Arif Alvi against two superior court judges.

Composition of CJP Khosa-led Supreme Judicial Council

SJC – a constitutional body tasked with scrutinizing the conduct of superior court judges – is the only forum for initiating action against judges over misconduct. It consists of five top judges. Composition of the SJC is very important in this matter.

Interestingly, three SC judges who are members of SJC were part of the larger bench which had disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on account of non-disclosure of foreign assets in his nomination papers.

SJC had taken up the matter but it remained inconclusive when lawyers’ movement broke out and a suspended CJP Chaudhry was restored by the full bench of Supreme Court.

Currently, CJP Khosa, who is retiring in December, is the chairman of the council. Other members are: Justice Gulzar Ahmad, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Chief Justice Sindh High Court Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh and Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth.

Legal experts say the addition of Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed as SJC member is significant as “he is going to retire in August”. Justice Gulzar is said to be the future chief justice of Pakistan.

Reference against ex-CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

Previously, in 2007, President Musharraf had, on recommendation of the then Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz, filed a reference of the misconduct against Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

It was related to the alleged influence peddling by the Chief Justice for his son Arsalan Iftikhar who entered civil services of Pakistan through a very twisted route and was promoted at exceptional speed.

Read more: Government files references against judges in Supreme Judicial Council

SJC had taken up the matter but it remained inconclusive when lawyers’ movement broke out and a suspended CJP Chaudhry was restored by the full bench of Supreme Court.

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