The Pakistan government on Friday objected to the inclusion of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial in a five-member bench constituted to hear cases challenging the setting up of a judicial commission probing audio leaks related to the judiciary.
During the hearing of the case, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan asked CJP Bandial to excuse himself, inviting a strong reaction from the top judge.
Audio leak: Judicial commission will make the proceedings public
AGP Awan said, “It is requested that the Chief Justice should not be a part of this bench.”
On the other hand, CJP Bandyal observed that the formation of the commission “interfered with the internal affairs of the judiciary”.
Responding to the AGP, the Chief Justice said “You should not interfere with our administrative authority”.
“Judiciary is the protector of basic human rights. We have full respect for the government.”
‘Audio leak’ probe: 5-member Supreme Court bench to hear pleas against setting up of JC
He said that there were errors in the notification issued by the government for the formation of the commission.
“The Constitution gives complete independence to the judiciary,” he said. “The investigation to be carried out by the institutions was entrusted to the judges.”
Bandyal further said, ‘We have no other framework than the strength of morality and justice.’
The court then reserved its order on the petitions and said appropriate orders would be passed later in the day.
The bench comprised of CJP Bandyal, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed.
The commission, headed by Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, was constituted on May 20 under Section 3 of the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act 2017 and is required to complete the task within a month.
The petitions were filed under Article 184(3) to declare the notification and setting up of an inquiry commission to probe the veracity of the alleged audio leak as extraneous to the authority of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the commission of inquiry has issued notices to four people who were allegedly found to be talking in the May 27 audio leak. These include SCBA president Abid Zuberi, senior advocate Khawaja Tariq Rahim, journalist Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui and Najam Saqib, son of the former. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar
Abid Zuberi in his petition mentions whether surveillance of citizens of Pakistan through “phone tapping or interception” is permissible under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and whether it is violative of Articles 9, 14, 18, 19 . and 25 r/w 4 his?
He also questioned whether any undated alleged audio leaks uploaded or circulated on unknown/untraceable social media accounts can be relied upon for any legal proceedings and whether the alleged audio leaks would be investigated by the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act. can be done through a commission constituted under , 2017 to determine the liability of the persons named in the alleged audio leak.
He said that on 16.02.2023 three purported snippets of audio recording of telephonic conversation were uploaded on a Twitter account with the handle.[email protected], These three audio recordings are purportedly between (1) former Chief Minister of Punjab, Pervez Elahi, with a lawyer of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, (2) between the petitioner and former Chief Minister of Punjab, Pervez Elahi, and (3) a serving judge of Punjab are of. Supreme Court and former Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi.
He submitted that the said recording was given wide coverage in the press and media. Thereafter, on the evening of 16.02.2023, a press conference was held by the Home Minister of respondent No. 1 in respect of the said phone recording. Based on these purported audio recordings, it was alleged that the former Chief Minister of Punjab was trying to influence judicial proceedings in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, however, completely silent about the legality, authenticity, source and manner of the recordings Was. Such purported audio.