PM Shehbaz's 'black sheep' remarks draw Supreme Court judges' ire

Justice Mandokhail says a judge is labelled as “black sheep” when his verdict is not favourable

Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui
PM Shehbazs black sheep remarks draw Supreme Court judges ire
(From left to right) Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Justice Athar Minallah. — Supreme Court/Reuters
  • AGP says premier's remarks not aimed at incumbent judges.
  • Justice Minallah asks PM to file reference against "black sheep".
  • PM labelled judges as “black sheep": Justice Mandokhail.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif recent “black sheep remarks” have drawn the ire of Supreme Court's judges, who asked the top executive official to knock on the doors of relevant forums if he had complaints.

The remarks from the judges came during a hearing of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) amendment case earlier today.

Addressing an event on Tuesday, PM Shehbaz had said: “You are Pakistanis; you are judges. If development does not return to Pakistan, then there will be no judges, no politicians, and no one else.

Do you want this? I believe that most of these judges are Pakistanis and think about Pakistan’s development, but some ‘black sheep’ are helping [PTI founder] Imran Khan."

The incumbent premier said when former PM Nawaz Sharif was under trial, he would not get bail in his cases, but currently, there are discussions about how the PTI founder can be sent out on bail and his cases be dismissed.

A five-member SC larger bench headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Minallah and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi conducted the hearing on NAB amendment case.

During the hearing, Justice Mandokhail, while interacting with Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan, observed that the prime minister labelled the judges as “black sheep”.

“If you like the decision then a judge is fine but if you dislike the verdict then a judge becomes black sheep,” Justice Mandokhail remarked.

Responding to the remarks, the AGP clarified that the PM did not label the “honourable judges” as black sheep. “This [black sheep remarks] was not aimed at incumbent judges,” the AGP added.

Justice Minallah also apparently expressed annoyance over the remarks, saying: “We are not black sheep [but] we are black bumble bee so PM can get the benefit of doubt.”

The judge also told the AGP to ask the premier to file reference against “black sheep” in the judiciary.