SC rejects PDM’s objections to bench hearing pleas against audio leaks commission


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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government’s plea objecting to the bench hearing petitions challenging the audio leaks commission.

Announcing the reserved judgement, Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the objections raised were “an attack on the judiciary”

The former coalition government had raised objections over the presence of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Muneeb Akhtar on the bench hearing the case.

On May 26, the apex court stayed the proceedings of the commission led by Justice Qazi Faez Isa and included Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq.

A five-judge SC bench, which apart from the three judges, included Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed issued the order while hearing four petitions filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abid Zuberi as well as others against the inquiry commission.

n the written order, the SC stated that the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan had raised objections over the presence of three judges included in the bench citing “conflict of interest”.

During the hearing, Awan said the three judges should separate from the bench, while the petitioner’s lawyer gave counterarguments.

After hearing the arguments of both parties, the court reserved its verdict, stating that the order of May 26 would stand till the objections raised on the formation of the bench were decided.

The hearing of the case was adjourned for an indefinite period.

The order maintained that it was an accepted and settled constitutional principle, acted upon several times in the constitution of commissions, that whenever a sitting judge was intended to be made a member of the body, the permission of the CJP had to be sought first.

The order further noted that as the federal government appeared to have acted unilaterally in this matter, a “constitutional principle” of the highest importance had been, prima facie, “breached”.

The commission was entrusted with the responsibility of investigating the alleged audio recording of the mother-in-law of the CJP. It was also supposed to investigate into the audio clip believed to be featuring the voice of Justice Naqvi.

Besides, the commission was assigned the task of probe into the purported audio recording of Advocate Khawaja Tariq Rahim and other important clips.

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