The demand of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) in the resolution passed on Thursday that Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) should chart rules on suo motu powers of the higher judiciary has a twist in it. Though the move on the surface is very sound advice to the Supreme Court, however, the intentions behind the resolution are not sincere. The person behind the recommendation is Advocate Syed Tanvir Hashmi, father of Shah Hussain. The Lahore High Court has recently set Shah Hussain free in Khadija Siddiqui’s stabbing case.

The resolution has already lost its credibility. While every student of law is eager to see some rules for invocation of suo motu powers of the higher judiciary, but the current resolution can and should not be supported as it is visible that the father of the acquitted wants to pressurise the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Mr Tanvir Hashmi has only found out the need of chalking out some rules for invocation of suo motu powers of the higher judiciary just after Mian Saqib Nisar, Chief Justice of Pakistan took suo motu notice of verdict given by Lahore High Court.

While the bar president Anwar-ul-Haq Pannu maintains, “that the general house meeting of the bar was not convened to discuss Khadija Siddiqui’s case only”, however, one can ask the president that why did he not show such urgency before.

The demand that SCP should make rules for suo motu actions and these notices should not be taken in those cases where parties had legal right to appeal is worthy of consideration, nevertheless, admitting that the gathering also discussed Khadija’s case makes it clear why the bar is making such a demand. The sinister aims of those protecting Shah Hussain under the pretext that suo motu actions should not be taken where parties have the right to appeal are before everyone. The language of the bar president is threatening. He’s committed to throwing all his support behind Shah Hussain. For him, the legal profession is all about protecting the powerful ones.

It is true that courts in Pakistan do have the power to initiate suo-motu actions, yet it is not an unbridled power. A line needs to be drawn to decide which cases fall under the suo-motu jurisdiction and which are beyond it. The bar’s resolution is not at all a set of malicious recommendations to the Supreme Court. However, it is the timing of drafting the resolution and dragging of Khadija’s case in the debate that makes the resolution an attempt to distort dispensing of justice.