The Supreme Court of Pakistan Friday reserved a verdict on petitions challenging the constitution of a judicial commission formed last week to probe audio leaks which have surfaced on social media recently.
The bench — headed by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed — heard the petitions.
The top court will release the short order on the commission probing audio leaks today (Friday).
The apex court reserved verdict on petitions filed by the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Abid Shahid Zuberi, SCBA Secretary Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir, PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Advocate Riaz Hanif Rahi.
The petitioners stated that the Constitution does not allow phone tapping of citizens and whether the inquiry commission would give any order without ascertaining the source of the audio recordings.
It further said that the affairs of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) were interfered with by the constitution of the inquiry commission and the recent audio leaks were tantamount to influencing the Supreme Court (SC) proceedings.
All four petitions seek to declare the constitution of the audio commission as illegal.
Babar Awan appeared on behalf of the PTI chief Imran Khan while SCBA President Abid Shahid Zuberi and Secretary Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir were also present.
As the hearing went underway, AGP Awan objected to the five-member larger bench hearing the audio leaks commission case.
“How can the government select judges of the Supreme Court [to serve] its own purpose?” the CJP remarked while pointing at AGP.
Enough is enough attorney general sahib, take a seat,” CJP Bandial said.
“Don’t interfere with our administrative powers,” Justice Bandial told the AGP, adding that after the May 9 events the critical statements against judiciary had stopped.
“We have complete respect for the government,” he said, adding that the judiciary was the protector of basic human rights.
The top court judge Bandial observed that the government had legislated on regulating the CJP’s powers in haste.
The federal government formed a three-member judicial commission, led by Supreme Court senior puisne judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa, to probe the multiple audio leaks pertaining to the judiciary.
The other members of the judicial commission include Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Islamabad High Court (IHC) CJ Aamer Farooq.
According to the notification issued by the government: “WHEREAS, recently wide circulations of controversial audios have been witnessed on the national electronic, print and social media, allegedly regarding the Judiciary and former Chief Justices/Judges, conversation raising serious apprehensions about the independence, impartiality and uprightness of the Chief Justices/Judges of the Superior Courts in the administration of justice”.
It added that such audio leaks had eroded public trust and serious concerns had been raised by the general public regarding “independence, impartiality and uprightness of the Chief Justices/Judges of the Superior Courts”.
Later, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan challenged the audio leaks judicial commission in the Supreme Court.
Imran Khan in his plea asked the Supreme Court to strike down the audio leaks commission, citing no judge can be nominated for the commission without the consent of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP).