Justices Qazi Faez Isa and Sardar Tariq Masood, the two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, on Monday urged Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to convene a meeting of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to probe allegations levelled against Justice Sayed Mazahar Ali Naqvi, stressing the matter should be proceeded on without any further delay.
In a letter addressed to members of the SJC—the CJP, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh—the two judges noted that several written complaints, including from the Pakistan Bar Council, had been received alleging “misconduct and financial impropriety” by Justice Naqvi.
Noting that Article 209 of the Constitution establishes the SJC, it said the forum’s duty was to inquire into the capacity and misconduct of any judge. Stressing that they had been waiting for the CJP to convene a meeting to examine the allegations and determine if they had any substance, the judges added: “we must exonerate the respondent judge and fully restore his honor or else submit our report in terms of the Constitution. To leave the respondent judge under a cloud of uncertainty undermines both his and the judiciary’s repute.”
The letter concluded by maintaining that the public’s confidence in the integrity and independence of the judiciary required the SJC to proceed without any further delay.
The references filed against Justice Naqvi range from corruption, violation of the judicial code of conduct, the Constitution and the law, and managing the court. They were triggered by the release of two audio recordings—the first allegedly between the judge and former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi and the second allegedly between PTI’s Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and his brother and PTI lawyer Faisal Chaudhry—and have prompted several calls for a probe, including from the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which has accused him of “bias” against it.
Despite the pending references, the CJP has repeatedly placed Justice Naqvi on various benches, and remarked during proceedings into an election delay case that this was intended to send a “silent message” to certain groups.