The Pakistan Bar Council on Tuesday announced that all provincial bar associations will separately submit references against Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi of the Supreme Court over an audio leak in which he can allegedly be heard conversing with former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi.
In a press conference, the regulatory body of lawyers said references would be submitted to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) from the bar councils of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Islamabad and the central body. Filed under Article 209 of the Constitution, it said they would all seek an inquiry into the alleged misconduct of the judge.
Addressing media, PBC Executive Committee Chairman Hassan Raza Pasha said the decision to file the references was taken through consensus. He said they would be filed by next week, adding that the lawyers’ bodies would deliberate on a future strategy—which could include protests—if the Council refused to hear the references.
Pasha stressed that the bar councils would prefer the judge voluntarily step down instead of facing proceedings before the SJC. Even though bar councils lack the authority to issue show-cause notices to judges, he said, they could summon Supreme Court Bar Association President Abid Zuberi, who is also allegedly featured in one of the audio clips of Elahi. If Zuberi fails to clarify his position, warned Pasha, the PBC would issue a formal notice on alleged misconduct and cancel his practice license.