ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Bar Council Thursday elected un-opposed Abid Saqi as its new vice-chairman for 2020 and appreciated Syed Amjad Shah, outgoing vice-chairman for leading the Council with dignity and honour. The Council also deliberated upon the announcement of recent verdict by a bench of Lahore High Court declaring constitution of Special Court dealing with high treason case of former president Pervez Musharraf as unconstitutional.

It was stated in the meeting of PBC held in its office at Supreme Court building while Chairman PBC Awar Mansoor Attorney General for Pakistan, Vice Chairman Syed Amjad Shah and other members attended it. The PBC expressed its opinion that assumption of jurisdiction by a high court at such a stage was uncalled for, more particularly in presence of right of appeal before the Supreme Court provided by law and thus disapproved the same. The Council also decided to file an appeal before the Supreme Court of Pakistan against this decision. The Council also discussed in detail the judgment of Supreme Court of Pakistan in Army Chief extension case and opined that said petition was seemingly taken up out of turn and then unlawful direction to the Parliament for legislation raised many an eye brows.

Calls for reconstitution of Judicial Commission of Pakistan

PBC expressed its grave concerns regarding forced disappearance and unconstitutional detention of advocate Inamur Rahiem by state agencies and called for his forthwith release with a demand to take stern legal action against the delinquents.

The Council re-iterated its earlier stance regarding appointment of judges in the superior courts by Judicial Commission of Pakistan and expressed its grave concerns over process of appointment of superior courts judges. The council is of the opinion that Judicial Commission could not deliver to the expectations of the legal fraternity rather it appears that most of the appointments were being made in a non-transparent manner and without meaningful consultations with the stake holders.

The Council also urged the Judicial Commission to forthwith amend rules as proposed by Pakistan and provincial bar councils. It proposed and urged the Parliament to suitably amend Article 175-A of the Constitution so as to reconstitute the Judicial Commission of Pakistan by including equal number of members from the judiciary, legislature and the Bar to ensure merit-based appointments of the superior court judges after meaningful consultations amongst the real stake holders.

The body also disapproved the amendments made by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government in Civil Procedure Code and Anti-Narcotics Laws and supported the stance taken by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council and Peshawar High Court Bar Association urging the government to withdraw the same.

It took serious notice of the unfortunate incident taking place at PIC, Lahore and expressed its sorrow and grief. The provincial bar councils were directed to ensure effective disciplinary actions to curb any such incident whenever and where ever it takes place, so that the dignity and honour of the profession be maintained according to legal ethics and etiquettes.

The PBC constituted a Special Committee to ensure that rules framed for conduct of elections of bar councils and bar associations are strictly implemented and acted upon. The Pakistan Bar Council forthwith imposed ban on display of any kind of banners /posters /panaflexe /pamphlets etc by contesting candidates or their supporters in any manners and so also to host dinners/lunches what so ever directing the provincial bar councils to forthwith take disciplinary actions in this regard.

The Pakistan Bar Council upholds the fundamental right of freedom of expression and strongly criticised the role of state agencies for controlling and curbing the media to suppress free reporting and expression of opinion.

It also discussed and deliberated upon the case management system in the Supreme Court as well as in High Courts and expressed its disappointment that despite repeated requests by concerned bar councils and bar associations no heed is being paid by the Chief Justice of Pakistan and chief justices of respective high courts. The present practice of occasional constitution of benches at registries of the Supreme Court should be stopped forthwith and instead the benches at registries of the Supreme Court should work there at least not less than two weeks in any case.

The Council also constituted two-member committee comprising Abid Saqi, Vice-Chairman, Pakistan Bar Council and Syed Qalb-i-Hassan, President, Supreme Court Bar Association to take up this matter with Chief Justice of Pakistan and similarly such committees will be constituted at the Provincial level giving effective deadline for redressal of lawyers otherwise the legal fraternity will be left with no option to launch a nationwide movement to protect the rights of litigant public as well as Members of the Bar.

The Council assured its fullest co-operation to the newly-elected Vice-Chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council to carry out mandate of the Bar.