- Asks how and where are the audio leaks emerging from during hearing
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday questioned the government whether it has utilised its resources to trace those behind the recording and leaking of audio conversations.
His remarks came as five-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) resumed hearing the pleas challenging the formation of a judicial commission, led by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, to probe audio leaks. The bench also comprises Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed.
The petitions had requested the apex court to declare the commission’s formation illegal, and were moved by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abid Zuberi, SCBA Secretary Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, and Advocate Riaz Hanif Rahi.
“How and where are the audio leaks emerging from? Who is behind this?” Justice Bandial inquired.
Along with the CJP, the bench also comprises Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed.
He also warned the executive from interfering in the Supreme Court’s affairs.
He lambasted Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Uman Awan for saying that “two judges, including the chief justice, are involved in the matter”.
Last week, the commission raised objections to SC bench that was hearing the pleas.
In a reply submitted to SC, the commission stated “it would not be appropriate for this bench to hear these petitions”.
During the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said “I am sorry to say that efforts have been made regrettably, maybe unknowingly, to draw a wedge between the judges of the court”.
The federal government set up the Commission on May 20 in exercise of its power under Section 3 of the Pakistan Commissions of the Inquiry Act, 2017, to inquire into the veracity of the wide circulations of audio in the media and social media.
The Civil Miscellaneous Application (CMA) said that a fair justice system demands and sustains upon the existence of any impartial judge, being a principle - that “no man shall be a judge in his own cause.” It pointed out that on 26-05-23 the federation requested the chief justice to recuse from the bench, but that was not entertained whilst placing reliance upon the Supreme Court judgments.