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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) demanded immediate resignations of President Arif Alvi, Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shahzad Akbar for filing a reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa tainted with mala fide.

Vice Chairman PBC Abid Saqi and Chairman Executive Committee of the Council Azam Nazeer Tarar in statement issued on Saturday by its secretary welcomed the Supreme Court verdict, quashing the presidential reference.

They stated that the president sent the reference to the Supreme Judicial Council without thorough consideration and application of his mind that being the constitutional requirement, while Farogh Naseem and Shahzad Akbar were the "real masterminds" of initiating the enquiry and preparing the reference to cause bad name to the judiciary. The observations and reasons given by the Supreme Court in its detailed judgment clearly prove the constitutional violations, illegalities and mala fide of the government and its functionaries, in filing the politically motivated reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

The bar leaders said the Supreme Court rightly quashed the reference, however, without taking any action against the delinquent government and its ministers and other officials, who in fact, are the "mastermind" and responsible of filing the reference, aiming to pressurise and disrepute the sacred institution of judiciary.

Both the vice chief and chairman Executive Committee of the Council recalled that the Pakistan Bar Council, being not satisfied with findings of the Supreme Court, given in Paragraphs 3-11 of its short order dated 19-06-2020, in Justice Qazi Faiz's case, has already filed a review petition in respect of referring the matter of the wife and children of the petitioner, to the FBR for investigation within a specified timeline and submission of its report within stipulated period of time to the Supreme Judicial Council, which needs to be fixed for hearing at an early date.

The council after minute perusal and examination of the detailed judgment may also file a CMA with its further submissions adding to its review petition against the short order.

The bar leaders noted, "with satisfaction", the apex court observations and reasons, given in its detailed judgment that the reference is tainted with malafide.

President's failure to form his considered opinion under Article 209(5) of the Constitution, after independent application of mind, as he did not get fair and objective advice from a third party on the question of law noted in the reference and thus, failed to notice its legal and procedural defects.

The president instead formed his opinion on the basis of "inadmissible advice" obtained from the law minister and the attorney general for Pakistan, both of whom were involved in preparation of the reference against the petitioner, and as such had a conflict of interest.

That the reference was based on the illegal access to tax record of the petitioner, without any valid authorisation for the investigation, by the president and/or the prime minister.

"That there was neither any evidence nor the nomination of a predicate offense in the reference to support the allegation of money laundering against Justice Qazi Faez," according to the statement.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020