Unfortunately, the Punjab Bar Council, a body of lawyers established by the Parliament of Pakistan to suggest legal reforms and protect the rights of lawyers, has of-late been on the wrong side of history. The resolutions and recommendations passed by the Bar Council have not been befitting of a body of such prestige; instead of working on constructive reforms to improve the judiciary and the legal process in Pakistan, the Bar Council has instead encouraged a culture of protests, strikes and passing inane resolutions.

Nothing can better amplify the deterioration of the professionalism of the Punjab Bar better than the recent resolution that was passed. In a meeting on Saturday, the Council approved a resolution demanding the removal of Justice Qazi Faez Isa as judge of the Supreme Court. According to the representatives of the Punjab Bar, Justice Qazi Faez Isa ‘targeted intelligence agencies’ in the Faizabad sit-in case and violated canons of law.

Let us put aside the fact that nowhere in his judgment did Justice Isa target the intelligence agencies in the Faizabad case. The case was put forward to the Court to determine the reasons behind the failure of the authorities to handle the situation and the Court identified the role of intelligence agencies, as one of many factors that may have led to the fiasco that played out in front of us. Even if we put aside the logistics of the case, it is astounding that the Punjab Bar would choose to politicise itself and choose a side when there is already an appeal of the case pending before the Supreme Court, and what if even more baffling is that they would demand the resignation of a Supreme Court judge over this issue.

By demanding Justice Isa step aside over valid criticism, the Bar is pushing for restriction of freedom of speech, not just for citizens, but for the higher judiciary as well. It is incredulous, to say the least, how the Punjab Bar, which includes such prestigious and learned lawyers, cannot see the implications that the removal of a Supreme Court Judge on this issue would have on our legal system, which already attracts criticism of being politicised and biased. The resolution, if implemented by the Supreme Judicial Council, will only serve as a tool for political or ideological opponents to attack judges with.