PBC scorns reference against Justice Seth

By Uzma Zafar

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) vice chairman Abid Saqi on Monday asked the federal government to refrain from filing any reference before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth, Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court, who presided over the special court that handed down the death penalty to former president Pervez Musharraf in a high treason case.
The PBC vice chairman cautioned the government in a statement that the council would not hesitate to launch a countrywide agitation against the government if any move was made to file the reference before the SJC under Article 209 of the government against Justice Seth.
When contacted, Abid Saqi told Dawn that the statement was issued in a preventive move to offset any government decision to file the reference.
Moreover, a senior government functionary confided to Dawn that no serious consideration was under way to file any reference against Justice Seth, especially in view of the fact that references were filed on misconduct and not on any judgement of the superior court judge.
The statement said the Dec 17, 2019 verdict of the special court which was also authored by Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth was a brave and historic judgement since for the first time in the judicial history of Pakistan a decision had come against a military dictator for having subverted the constitution.
That judgement was not only welcomed but also appreciated and commended by the entire nation as a whole particularly by the legal fraternity since it not only strengthened the principle of supremacy of the constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary but also ensured continuity of the democratic process as enshrined in the constitution.
The perceived decision of the federal government to file the reference against Justice Seth, the statement said, was a cause of grave concern and any such move will be based on ulterior motives aiming to target and suppress the independence of the judiciary.
The legal fraternity had also reacted sharply to the filing of the references against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court as well as Justice K.K. Agha of the Sindh High Court on misconduct.
A 10-judge full court of the Supreme Court is also seized with a set of challenges to the filing of the presidential references against Justice Isa.