ISLAMABAD.: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa said on Sunday that the government could not remove Supreme Court’s Justice Qazi Faez Isa and the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) would deal with the matter fairly.
“Trust the judges. They will ensure justice [in the matter],” the chief justice said at the Cambridge University in UK while responding to a query about Justice Isa, who is facing a reference filed by the government with the SJC over charges of misconduct.
The CJP said he could not comment further on the matter as it had to be heard by the council.
Speaking on other issues, Justice Khosa said model courts had proven to be promising for the quick provision of justice.
The chief justice also said whether it was martial law or a democratic system in the country, the judiciary had been constantly striving for the rule of law.
“If the system is not fully functional in ensuring justice, the judiciary is not responsible for that. Our society is struggling to ensure the rule of law,” he added.
The CJP said while handing down sentences, judges needed to keep in view the circumstances and the family of the convict. “Justice demands that all circumstances are taken into account.”
Separately, a group of lawyers describing themselves as the “lawyers action committee” of the Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) held a ceremony at a hotel in Islamabad where it demanded that the Pakistan Bar Council should call off its protest in favour of Justice Isa on June 14.
However, the PbBC vice chairman and executive committee chairman clarified that the council had not formed any lawyers action committee on the matter and it firmly believed that the reference against Justice Isa had been filed with mala fide intent.
The event in Islamabad organised by the “lawyers action committee” was attended by several council members, leaders of lawyer bodies from Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and former office-bearers of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
The group resolved that it would not participate in the protest on June 14. The speakers at the event said under Article 209, the SJC was empowered to hold any judge accountable and an individual was not above the law even if he was a judge.
The participants of the event also condemned the cancellation of the bar membership of Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem.
Addressing the gathering, Rawalpindi Bar Council General Secretary Shahzad Mir said everyone must be held accountable.
Former Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman Ramzan Chaudhry requested Justice Isa to allow the SJC to carry out its duties. He also appealed to the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association that he should not make unilateral decisions. Roy Bashir Ahmed Kharal, a former member of the Punjab Bar Council, said now that the armed forces had also kicked off the process of accountability within its ranks, judges should also be held accountable.
Sargodha District Bar President Wasif Bhatti said it was the prerogative of the government to file a reference against any judge.
PbBC member Shafiq Bhandara presented a resolution stating that lawyers condemned those threatening the country’s institutions and opposed the demand for the resignation of the attorney general and the federal law minister.
The PbBC secretary later released a statement, clarifying that the so-called lawyers action committee was not affiliated with the council.
In the statement, PbBC Vice Chairman Shah Nawaz Ismail Gujjar and Executive Committee Chairman Iftikhar Ibrahim Qureshi asserted that contrary to the propaganda being spread on social media, the council did not support the reference against Justice Isa.
They condemned the “immoral and unprofessional activities” of the people who were claiming to be the “lawyers action committee” of the PbBC.
They further said the reference against Justice Isa was filed with mala fide intent and hoped that the SJC would decide the matter in a fair manner without succumbing to pressure from any quarter.