Reference against judges: Lawyers announce countrywide strike on June 14

Reference against judges: Lawyers announce countrywide strike on June 14

Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has announced a countrywide strike on June 14 over references filed by the government against Supreme Court judge Qazi Faez Isa and two high court judges.

A meeting of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and all provincial bar councils was held at the Supreme Court to ponder over the references against judges. All bar councils have announced a strike on June 14 on account hearing of a reference against Justice Isa.

Addressing a press conference outside the SC building in Islamabad, the PBC members also demanded resignations of the law minister and the attorney general of Pakistan, stating that the May 28 reference against the top court judge was based on ‘mala fide’ intent.

Earlier, Justice Qazi Faez Isa wrote a letter to President Arif Alvi, requesting to confirm if a reference was filed against him under Article 209 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

In the letter, Justice Isa has drawn Dr Alvi’s attention towards reports quoting government sources that a reference had been filed against him.

“I have come to learn through government sources that the President House has sent a reference against me to the Supreme Judicial Council under Article 209 of the Constitution. I will be obliged if you (the president) could let me know whether this is correct and if it is, then provide me with a copy of the alleged reference.”

The Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan is a body of judges empowered under Article 209 of the constitution of Pakistan to hear cases of misconduct against judges.

“I am confident that you will agree that if a reference has been filed and I have been called upon to submit a reply, only then to the permission of the Supreme Judicial Council, the government may disclose the reference and my response thereto,” he further wrote.

The SC judge also went on to add that “selective leaks amount to character assassination” jeopardise his right to due process and fair trial, and undermines the institution of the judiciary.

The unprecedented move by Justice Isa follows the reports that the government has filed references against two superior courts judges who hold foreign property either in their own names or through their spouses.