Islamabad: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has lodged a challenge against the judicial commission established to investigate the recent audio leaks in the Supreme Court. PTI Chairman Imran Khan filed a petition today, naming the federation and the Ministry of Interior as respondents.
In the petition, Imran Khan raised concerns regarding the selection of a judge from a superior court by the federal government without prior approval from the Chief Justice. He argued that the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) is the sole authority responsible for investigating and taking action against a judge. The PTI has requested the apex court to declare the government’s notification for the constitution of the judicial commission as “ultra vires to the Constitution.” Additionally, they have urged the court to form a judicial commission in accordance with a previous judgment passed by the Supreme Court regarding illegal phone tapping, emphasizing the importance of upholding justice.
Earlier this week, the Cabinet Division issued a notification to establish the judicial commission in order to investigate the controversial audio leaks. The commission, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, a senior judge of the Supreme Court, consists of Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court Aamer Farooq.
The primary task assigned to the commission is to determine the authenticity and the impact of the leaked audio clips allegedly involving current and former members of the superior judiciary and their family members, particularly with regards to the independence of the judiciary. The PTI’s challenge questions the formation of the commission by the federal government without taking into account the provisions of Article 175(3) and a previous judgment in the case of Sharaf Faridi and others, which emphasized the separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive.
The petition further highlights that the nomination of any judge to the commission should require the permission of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The PTI asserts that the SJC is the only appropriate forum for investigating and initiating proceedings against a judge.
Moreover, the petition raises a significant question as to whether the commission can delve into the details of alleged telephone tapping, given the Supreme Court’s previous ruling that declared telephone tapping as a violation of fundamental rights in a case involving former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
The PTI’s challenge to the formation of the judicial commission adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing investigation into the audio leaks, stirring debate over the jurisdiction and authority of the commission in question. The Supreme Court is now expected to review the PTI’s petition and make a determination on the matter.