ISLAMABAD   -  All bar councils of the country led by the Pakistan Bar Council on Saturday unanimously decided to observe countrywide strike on June 14, the date of hearing of references against top court’s judge Justice Qazi Faez Esa and Sindh High Court’s judge Justice KK Agha in the Supreme Judicial Council.

The joint meeting of councils held at PBC’s Office in Supreme Court with Vice-Chairman PBC Syed Amjad Shah in the chair considered an agenda pertaining to prevailing situation and filing of references by the government against superior courts’ judges under Article 209 and 175-A of the Constitution and decided to stage protest on June 14 against the references.

During the meeting, the councils’ representatives unanimously were of the view that both these references have been filed by the government with mala fide intentions and procedure laid down for filing of references has not been followed.

The meeting also unanimously adopted resolution whereby they have demanded that the Federal Law Minister and Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) should immediately resign from their offices since they played a role in filing of these references against the top courts judges.

During the meeting, it has also been demanded of the PBC to take action against Law Minister Dr Muhammad Farogh Naseem and AGP Anwar Mansoor Khan as they are party to filing of these references.

The representatives expressing their views urged that SJC shall not succumb to any conspiracy, pressure and fear from any corner and shall decide the references in accordance with law.

The meeting also unanimously condemned the statement of Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan wherein she said that lawyers are doing politics on the references filed by the government.

The representatives said that Awan must know that lawyers always struggle for rule of law, supremacy of the Constitution and independence of judiciary.

Member (PBC) Akhtar Hussain, Chairman Rules Commission of Sindh Bar Council (SBC) Abdul Haleem Siddiqui, Member Judicial Commission SBC Noor Naz Ache, Chairman Executive Committee Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council (KPBC) Haq Nawaz Shangla, Member Judicial Commission KPBC Shah Jehan Swati, Vice-Chairman Balochistan Bar Council (BBC) Haji Attaullah Langove, Chairman Executive Committee BBC Rahib Khan Buledi, Member Judicial Commission BBC Munir Ahmad Kakar, Vice-Chairman Islamabad Bar Council (IBC) Haroon-ur-Rashid, Member Judicial Commission IBC Qazi Rafi-Ud-Din Babar, Chairman Inter Provincial Co-ordination Committee IBC Javed Saleem Shorish, Member KPBC Ahmad Farooq Khattak, Member Punjab Bar Council Zeeshan Mirza and Members SBC Abdul Razzak Mehr and Manzoor Hameed Arain were the representatives who attended the meeting.

Later, addressing a press conference, PBC’s Vice Chairman Shah said the legal fraternity shall stage a peaceful sit-in on the date of hearing before SJC.

He urged the government to immediately withdraw the references, adding the purpose of the protest is to guard the essence of the Constitution and preserve the supremacy of law.

He also questioned alleged tainted record of SJC as an authority to hear references against senior judges.

“Several references remain questionable and the apex court findings with regard to those have not been made public,” said Shah.

Stating de-merits, Shah said that the reference had a weak legal footing, adding the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), being the first authority to investigate the matter, did not serve a show cause notice to the judges, thereby committing a violation.

“The reference has no merit and is based on ill-intention,” he said further clarifying that the protest is not borne by pressure from any political party and is exclusively the decision of lawyers.