Lawyers’ groups throw weight behind Justice Isa

Pakistan Bar Council to discuss reference in June 12 session

Hasnaat Mailk June 10, 2019
Supreme Court Judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: A crucial meeting of the Professional Lawyers Group will be held on Tuesday to devise a strategy on the presidential reference against Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

It has been learnt that the group’s meeting has been called to devise a strategy on the issue before the session of the Pakistan Bar Council to be held on June 12 on the same issue.

The group, also known as the Hamid Khan Group, exists in superior bars across the country. It played a key role during the Legal Framework Order 2000.

The same group played key role against General Pervez Musharraf’s Legal Framework Order (LFO) 2002 as well as the lawyers’ movement of 2007 when Musharraf suspended then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

With the legal fraternity, including superior bars, announcing boycott of court proceedings on June 14 to protest against the reference and show solidarity with Justice Isa, the role of the Professional Lawyers Group will be significant.

Govt can’t remove Justice Isa: CJP

Its key members include Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Amanullah Kanrani, former SCBA presidents Munir A Malik and Rasheed A Rizvi have already expressed their support for Justice Isa calling the reference against him ‘motivated and malafide’.

The group also includes Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem and Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan, who initiated the reference against Justice Isa. Furthermore, the group’s chief Hamid Khan is also a senior member of the ruling political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Munir Kakar, another member of the group and a reputed lawyer, says that Hamid Khan has conveyed to him that they will fully back the top court judge. He acknowledged that unlike the three smaller provinces, lawyers in Punjab are divided over the issue of the reference against Justice Isa.

Kakar, who is from Balochistan, also questioned why lawyers from Punjab were not raising their voice in favour of the judge from Balochistan, who is scheduled to become the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) in 2023.

Meanwhile, the Independent Lawyers Group, also known as the Asma Jahangir Group, has also thrown its weight behind Justice Isa and also called for the resignation of the law minister and the AGP.

While the leadership of the two groups of lawyers appear determined to register their protest against the presidential reference, it remains to be seen whether ordinary lawyers will respond to their call of strikes and protests in this matter.

In Karachi, the country’s biggest city, lawyers have come out in support of the SC judge. In Lahore, however, the opinion is divided.

Moreover, the PTI-led government has also started lobbying for support of lawyers with its leader and senior lawyer Babar Awan active in this regard.

The legal wings of the major political parties – the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Awami National Party and the Jamaat-e-Islami and others – are also expected to participate in the protests in favour of Justice Isa causing another problem for the incumbent government.

The basic aim of the lawyers’ protest is to ensure that the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council are not influenced.  Likewise, retired judges have also been active in garnering support for Justice Isa.

If Justice Isa is removed, then Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan will become the next CJP and next general elections will be held in his tenure.

Justice Ahsan, who belongs to the province of Punjab, worked as a monitoring judge in Panamagate case. He also authored the judgment in the fake accounts scam in which former president Asif Ali Zardari is among the accused.


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