'Justice Masood expressed dismay over ex-CJ Bandial’s inappropriate phone call'

Then-CJ apparently made last-ditch attempt to resolve matter of complaints against fellow judges, reveals letter

By
Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui
Former chief justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial (left) and SC Judge Sardar Tariq Masood. — SC Website/File
Former chief justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial (left) and SC Judge Sardar Tariq Masood. — SC Website/File

  • Justice Masood says Bandial's phone call was not appropriate.
  • Two justices had conversation that turned bitter, say sources.
  • Copies of letter also sent to members of  Supreme Judicial Council.


ISLAMABAD: Former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, before his retirement earlier this month, telephoned Supreme Court Justice Sardar Tariq Masood to discuss a matter of complaints against fellow judges of the apex court, The News reported on Monday.

It has been learnt that the day after the said call, Justice Masood wrote a letter to Justice Bandial — the chief justice at the time. 

Copies of the letter were also sent to members of the Supreme Judicial Council. The essence of the letter is Justice Masood disapproving of Justice Bandial calling him and asking him what to do with a complaint against Justice Masood. 

The letter stated that the phone call was not appropriate and it would have been in the fitness of things to refer the complaint to the Supreme Judicial Council since, otherwise, Justice Masood could face additional allegations of seeking favours from the then-CJ.

The sources said that on the night of September 5, 2023, Justice Masood received a phone call from CJ Bandial. The two justices had a conversation that turned somewhat bitter, and the call eventually ended on that note. 

This was apparently a last-ditch attempt by the former chief justice to resolve the matter of complaints against fellow judges of the Supreme Court.

It is also said that the former chief justice had presented Justice Masood with an offer during the phone conversation: if a pending complaint against a colleague — another judge — were withdrawn, then the complaint against Justice Masood would also be resolved.

It is claimed by sources that Justice Masood was upset at how the former CJ had called him instead of forwarding the matter to the Supreme Judicial Council, something he expressed the following day in a letter addressed to Justice Bandial. 

In addition to sending the letter to (former) CJ Bandial, copies of the letter were also forwarded to members of the Supreme Judicial Council.

The letter penned by Justice Masood — dated September 6 — reads as:

“Mr Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Honourable Chief justice of Pakistan, Islamabad.

“Dear Sir,

Yesterday you spoke to me on the phone and informed me that a complaint against me was submitted by Mrs Amina Malik and you asked me what to do with it. Sir, with the greatest of respect I do not think it was appropriate for you to have talked to me about the said complaint. Sir, your talking to me has placed me in a most embarrassing position.

Under the circumstances, it would be best if the said complaint is placed for consideration before the Supreme Judicial Council as I do not want an additional accusation of seeking favour to be leveled against me. I am confident that the Council will attend to it in accordance with the constitution and the law, and if the complaint is found to be false and intended to malign me then the Council will act pursuant to clause 14 of the Supreme Judicial Council (Procedure of Inquiry), 2005.

Yours very sincerely,

Justice Tariq Masood"

Copies of Justice Masood’s letter were reportedly also sent to the current members of the Supreme Judicial Council, including Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, the chief justice of the Sindh High Court, and the chief justice of the Lahore High Court.

Geo News attempted to contact the former chief justice to get his stance on this matter but, as of now, no response has been received.