ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Tuesday urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to refrain of hearing of audio leaks case for ensuring true justice to the aggrieved.
Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif stated this while referring to a five-member bench order of the apex court, headed by the chief justice, which stayed the proceedings on various petitions challenging the constitution of the judicial commission formed by the federal government, tasked to inquire about the veracity of audio leaks allegedly involving the SC judge and a relative of the top judge.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the most senior judge of the SC after the CJP, headed the commission comprising Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan.
Addressing on the floor of National Assembly, Khawaja Asif expressed his opinion on the ‘wedge between the judiciary and the parliament’ continuing for more than a year, creating political unrest in the country.
He recalled that former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s son was involved in a legal battle with Real Estate Tycoon Malik Riaz. He said the former chief justice distanced himself from the case due to the conflict of interest. The minister regretted that such norms and precedents had been “abandoned by few judges of the apex court”.
“If the former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Ch can recuse himself then why can’t the incumbent chief justice follow the same precedent to stop influencing the justice [proceedings]in audio leaks case,” he viewed.
The defence minister reiterated the government had only intended by constituting the judicial commission, which included the members of the judiciary, to ensure transparency in court’s proceedings.
He regretted that the Apex Court Chief Justice scuttled the senior judge of the Supreme Court and the chief justice of the Balochistan High Court from the Commission. “We had not appointed members of the Parliament or someone outside the judiciary in the commission to probe audio leaks,” the minister added.
The CJP had rejected that commission because his mother-in-law’s audio call was also under the probe, he alleged. “We expected that the chief justice would keep himself out of this [matter] to ensure justice.”
The minister underlined that an impression was being given that the audio calls were recorded via the bugging of telephones or devices.
“One can hack phone devices while sitting in the UK or abroad. There is no listening device required for it. International hackers are doing this. Many superpowers like the US had faced breaches of information by the hacking of international hackers,” he maintained, meanwhile, dismissing the impression that the alleged audio leaks were taped indigenously.
A committee was formed [by the NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf] on the alleged audio leak of the former chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar’s son, he said. “Saqib Nisar’s son was found dealing with the distribution of PTI tickets for the elections of Punjab Assembly that were not held on May 14,” he alleged. The minister apprised the house that MNA Aslam Bhootani was the chair of that committee.