ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Court’s special bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial takes up PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s petitions in the Toshakhana case on Wednesday (today), the party has given a momentum to its aggressive policy towards Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq by announcing that it will file a complaint of misconduct against him on account of “biased conduct” in the former premier’s cases.
The CJP formed a three-judge special bench including himself and comprising Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail to take up the PTI chief’s petitions which were filed during his trial in the Toshakhana case.
A lawyer maintained that the composition of the special bench reflected that an extraordinary order may be passed.
However, he noted that the PTI Core Committee made a “blunder” by having issued a harsh statement against the IHC chief justice for not suspending Imran’s conviction in the Toshakhana case.
He said this move may make the granting of relief by the apex court to the PTI chief troublesome, adding that suspension of former premier’s conviction may get further delayed if the IHC chief justice recuses himself from the bench.
During the hearing of the case on Tuesday, several lawyers of the PTI came to the rostrum. Imran’s counsel Latif Khosa argued aggressively, and was visibly annoyed with the IHC for not giving timely relief to his client.
Interestingly, the other PTI chief’s senior lawyers, Khawaja Haris and Salman Sardar, were not present during the hearing. Due to their absence, a lack of coordination was witnessed among former ruling party’s legal team.
It is learnt that Haris is distancing himself from the case after the PTI’s decision to adopt an aggressive policy towards the IHC chief justice.
However, a PTI lawyer claimed that Haris is unwell, therefore, he could not appear before IHC on Tuesday.
The top judge is still keeping the hope alive for the PTI to seek relief for its chairman.
Presently, the CJP’s support is based on pro-PTI lawyers, pro-PTI bar representatives and pro-PTI media persons. It will be interesting to see how the top judge and his “like-minded” are remembered in history after his retirement on Sept 17.
According to experts, the establishment may suffer a major setback if the Supreme Court gives relief to the former premier, which may have its repercussions. Lawyers believe that decisions of a “united” top court may only be complied with.
This is not the first time that the PTI had levelled the allegation of bias against the IHC chief justice. In July, Imran had moved an application seeking his recusal on the same grounds.
Previously, the PML-N was not satisfied with Justice Farooq during the hearing of party supremo Nawaz Sharif and Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s appeals against their conviction in the Avenfield case. Later, the judge acquitted Maryam in the same case.
Justice Farooq may remain the IHC chief justice until 2032.