KP Bar Council asks CJP Umar Ata Bandial to step down

Executive members reject SCBA president, secretary's statement, urge CJP to call full court to remove differences in SC judges

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CJP Umar Ata Bandial. — SC website
CJP Umar Ata Bandial. — SC website

  • KP Bar Council says CJP had undermined judiciary with dictatorial attitude.
  • Executive members reject SCBA president, secretary's statement.
  • MEC majority urges CJP to call full court to remove differences in SC judges.

Amid a deepening political and constitutional crisis, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council has joined the people demanding Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial's resignation, asking the top judge to step down as he had become "controversial".

Hours after the apex court judge, Justice Athar Minallah released his detailed note on the suo motu notice proceedings on the delay in holding elections in Punjab and KP, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb had put forward the government's demand for the CJP to tender his resignation.

A major development took place last week when the SC bench, headed by CJP Bandial — nullified Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) decision to delay polls till October and ordered to hold snap polls in Punjab on May 14.

However days after that, Justice Minallah, in his detailed order, stated that the suo motu case in the SC was dismissed by 4 to 3 and clarified that “he had not recused nor had any reason to dissociate himself” from the case.

Expressing reservations over the verdict of the SC bench led by CJP Bandial, the KP Bar Council said that Justice Minallah's note had confirmed the case was dismissed by 4-3, The News reported. 

CJP had not only undermined the judiciary by adopting a dictatorial attitude but also violated the code of conduct for judges of the superior judiciary and his oath of office, a press release quoted KP Bar Council Chairman Zar Badshah Khan as saying.

He said that senior judges of the top court had been ignored in the formation of benches, which was also a violation of SC's code of conduct. He said that the KP Bar Council had filed a reference in the Supreme Judicial Council against Justice Mazahar Ali Naqvi, but despite this he was included in the bench hearing the suo moto notice case.

Khan said that the CJP had failed to perform his duties as chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council. He urged the government to file a reference before the SJC against Justice Bandial in a bid to restore the trust of the people in the higher judiciary, adding that the KP Bar Council was striving to ensure independence of the judiciary.

He said that non-elevation of the Peshawar High Court judges to the Supreme Court of Pakistan was a grave injustice to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Executive members reject SCBA top officials' statement

Meanwhile, 10 members of the Executive Committee (MEC) of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) distanced themselves from a statement issued by the body’s president and secretary that termed the NA resolution against SC verdict a constitutional violation.

The MEC members said that the SCBA higher-ups' had not only tried to deepen the differences among the SC judges, but also tried to "attack the supremacy of parliament".

“We, the majority of executive committee members of the SCBAP [10 out of 17], regret and express our serious reservations on a non-representative statement of the president and secretary, without taking into confidence the majority of executive members.”

The statement carried the names of Muhammad Yousaf Mughal, senior vice president (KPK); Adnan Ejaz Sheikh, vice president Balochistan; Hifza Bokhari, finance secretary; Abdul Malik Baloch, member executive committee (MEC), Balochistan; Aamir Sabir, MEC, KPK; Yasir Zahoor Abbasi, MEC, KPK; Saleem Akhtar Warraich, MEC, Multan, Bahawalpur; Mohammad Mohsin Virk, MEC, Punjab; Irfan Mir Halepota, MEC, Sindh; Manoj Kumar Tajwani, MEC, Sindh, who rejected the statement, issued by the SCBA top office-bearers.

The members of the executive committee also urged the chief justice of Pakistan to immediately call a full court meeting to bridge all differences, being the elder of the institution and warned the SCBA president and secretary against acting as mouthpieces for a political party.