Home Latest News SC Rejects Former Government’s Objections to Bench Hearing Audio Leaks Case

SC Rejects Former Government’s Objections to Bench Hearing Audio Leaks Case

Reading out verdict, Justice Ijazul Ahsan says objections were akin to ‘attack on the judiciary’

by Staff Report

Farooq Naeem—AFP

The Supreme Court on Friday issued its reserved judgment on the former government’s objections to a bench hearing petitions challenging the audio leaks commission, declaring the plea an “attack on the judiciary.”

The former government had raised objections over the presence of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and Justices Ahsan and Munib Akhtar on the bench hearing the case after it had stayed the proceedings of an inquiry commission led by Justice Qazi Faez Isa. The initial stay had been granted on several petitions filed against the inquiry commission by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abid Zuberi as well as others.

The government’s plea had stated that the presence of the CJP, as the son-in-law of one of the subjects whose audio leak was under investigation, on the bench raised grave concerns over impartiality. It had similarly stated that some of the audio leaks had concerned Justices Akhtar and Ahsan.

Announcing the verdict, Justice Ahsan said the objections raised were “an attack on the judiciary.” The written verdict noted that Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan had raised objections against the presence of the three judges over “conflict of interest,” stating that it was an accepted and settled constitutional principle, acted upon several times in the formation of commissions, that the CJP’s permission was required before making any sitting judge a member of it.

The order further states that the federal government’s apparent unilateral formation of the commission had breached a “constitutional principle.”

The inquiry commission appointed by the government had been tasked with investigating several audio leaks: an alleged call between former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi and an advocate about fixation of some cases before a particular bench of the Supreme Court; an alleged call between Elahi and a sitting judge of the Supreme Court; an alleged call between former CJP Saqib Nisar and a senior lawyer; an alleged call between a lawyer and a journalist on the outcome of a case before a particular apex court bench; an alleged call between former prime minister Imran Khan and a party colleague about their links in the apex court; an alleged call between the mother-in-law of CJP Bandial and the wife of a lawyer regarding pending cases; and an alleged call between ex-CJP Nisar’s son Najam Saqib and a friend discussing the distribution of tickets by the PTI.

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