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PBC asked to request CJP for suo motu hearing over judge’s video

PBC asked to request CJP for suo motu hearing over judge’s video

ISLAMABAD: Against the backdrop of the alleged video scandal, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) — the top supervisory body of lawyers in the country — was on Monday asked to consider requesting Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa to initiate suo motu hearing against accountability court judge Mohammad Arshad Malik on alleged misconduct.

In a letter addressed to all 22 members of the PBC, Advocate Raheel Kamran Sheikh also proposed to the council to hold an immediate meeting in which a request be made to the CJP for initiating the suo motu action to be heard by a larger bench. He said the PBC should apply to join and assist the court if such proceedings opened.

Such events, the letter feared, had questioned the very integrity and credibility of the country’s judicial system by allegedly painting as if the institution of the judiciary was weak, vulnerable and amenable to control.

Alternatively, the PBC can also file a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court, seeking a directive for initiating an appropriate legal action against the accountability judge, the letter suggested.

Judge Malik became the focus of a controversy when on Saturday Pakistan Muslim Leader-Nawaz (PML-N) lea­der Maryam Nawaz claimed that he had confessed that he had been pressurised and blackmailed to convict former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference.

During her media interaction, the video containing the judge’s purported confession during his conversation with a ‘sympathiser’ of the PML-N was also screened at the party’s provincial headquarters in Lahore’s Model Town.

In response, Judge Malik himself issued a press statement denying the allegations of being blackmailed and also terming the alleged video clip fabricated.

The judge also demanded legal action against those behind the move, adding that the video was not only contrary to facts, but also an attempt to hatch a conspiracy to present conversations made on different occasions by twisting them out of context.

The letter also suggested to the PBC that any petition instituted before the apex court by the council should also include in its prayer a request for holding an independent and impartial inquiry or investigation, without any further loss of time, to ascertain genuineness or otherwise of the video of the alleged conversation of the accountability court judge.

The letter stated that the events that have unfolded since the July 6 press conference had put the integrity and credibility of the judicial system on trial and the same had been accused of being weak, vulnerable and amenable to control.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2019

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