Islamabad: Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday issued notice to Prime Minister Imran over alleged use of public fund by organizing an event of its party’s Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF) in a government building and participating in it.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who is outspoken and critic of the establishment, issued the notice and referred the matter for determination to chief justice under suo moto jurisdiction of Article 184(3) of the Constitution.
During the hearing of a routine case, the absence of an advocate drew ire of Justice Isa when Advocate-On-Record informed the bench that the counsel in the case has been appointed as Advocate General Punjab. He sought time for the hiring of another counsel.
Meanwhile, another lawyer and Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) office holder informed the bench that the same advocate general Ahmed Awais along with Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the convention of ILF and both using their resources to influence the bar elections.
At this, Justice Isa asked summoned Additional Advocate General Qasim Chohan and asked whether the office of prime minister allows that they associate themselves with a particular party. He further questioned whether the Prime Minister (Imran Khan) attended the event as the prime minister.
Justice Isa further observed that the advocate general Punjab was attending the event organized by a political party instead of discharging his professional duties.
Justice Isa further asked whether a judge can be allowed to attend an event organized by the panel of a political party. He asked the legal position of the eventuality.
Additional Advocate General Chohan in response submitted that the advocate general attended the event because it had been organized by lawyers and not a political party.
On this, Justice Isa remarked that the additional advocate general should inform the bench as to whether an advocate general and the prime minister should have attended the event. Justice Isa told the additional advocate general, “Your answer may cost you your job, but rule of the law should be above your job.”
on this, additional advocate general Qasim Chohan responded that neither he was a political appointee nor did he attend the event or watch the footage, adding that he could not respond to the question at the moment.
Justice Isa again stressed as to whether a holder of a constitutional office can misuse state resources. Justice Isa told the additional advocate general, “You seem to be withholding your opinion on the matter.”
He added, “even the Holy Quran states that you should testify even if it is against your parents.” However, Chohan responded that he was here to represent the Government of Punjab and that he could not comment on a decision taken by the premier.
Justice Isa observed that prima facie the advocate general Punjab was not fit for work as a provincial law officer. Justice Isa, heading a two-judge bench, also issued notices to the prime minister, the attorney general, the advocate general Punjab and the Islamabad administration. It also summoned the vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council and the president of the SCBAP on the next date of hearing.