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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed former federal minister Fawad Chaudhary’s counsel that after seeking instructions from his client as well as from the party leadership, to inform whether they have confidence in this Court.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday was hearing PTI leader Fawad’s petition, wherein, he asserted that due to political victimization multiple criminal cases have been registered at the behest of the federal government merely to harass and intimidate him and other leaders/ workers of the PTI. The bench extended the protective bail and the injunctive orders till May 12.

During the hearing, Faisal Fareed and Syed Muhammad Ali Bukhari advocates, representing ex-information minister, stated that they repose full confidence in this Court. However, the judge said it would be “appropriate if they seek instructions from the petitioners and the leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.” The IHC bench also stated, “The counsels are, therefore, expected to inform the Court on next date, after seeking instructions, whether the petitioners and the leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf repose confidence in the Court to proceed with the petitions in hand.”

Justice Minallah remarked it appears from the public statements of the petitioners and the PTI political leaders that probably they have doubts regarding the independence and impartiality of this court. He added, “They have repeatedly referred to opening of the Supreme Court and the IHC on the 9th April 2022 as if it was an extraordinary act.”

The chief justice noted that it is a constitutional duty of a court and every judge to decide cases in accordance with the law. However, simultaneously, it is also the duty of a court to ensure that justice is not only done but is also seen to have been done. He added in case there is doubt in the mind of a litigant regarding the independence and impartiality of a court or a judge, then justice cannot be seen to have been done. However, a doubt ought to be based on the basis of reasonable grounds.

Justice Minallah said that the political narrative regarding the events of the evening of 9th April 2022 relating to the august Supreme Court or this Court is not only misconceived but it appears that the petitioners and the political leadership have not been properly assisted.

He mentioned that this court in the case titled “The State v. Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan” has highlighted the legal provisions and duty of a court to allow access to any aggrieved person to file a petition of an urgent nature at any time.

The IHC CJ continued that it was pursuant to this duty that a constitutional petition, i.e., WP No4006 of 2014 was allowed late at night and vide order, dated 13-09-2014, several workers of PTI, arrested in case FIR No330, dated 12-09-2014, were ordered to be released. “It is only in exceptional circumstances that petitions are entertained and appropriate orders are passed even after the notified timings of the Court. Nonetheless, neither the august Supreme Court nor this Court had held any proceedings nor orders were passed in the evening of 9th April 2022.”

He maintained, “Notwithstanding that no proceedings had caused any prejudice to the petitioners or the leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, it is of utmost importance that they have trust and confidence in the independence and impartiality of the Court.”

He pointed out that the respondents have not filed reply/ comments and the federal government is, therefore, directed to submit a report. Later, the court adjourned the hearing until May 12.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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