Audio leaks commission: Govt raises objection to CJP’s inclusion in bench

CJP says Supreme Court won't be influenced by criticism

ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday objected to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial’s inclusion in the five-member bench formed to hear pleas challenging the formation of a judicial commission tasked to probe audio leaks involving the judiciary.

The bench, a day earlier, was constituted by CJP Bandial to conduct hearing of the pleas filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

Those who have challenged the petitions include Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir, Advocate Riaz Hanif and Supreme Court Bar Association President Abid Shah Zubairi.

The bench is being headed by CJP Bandial and comprises Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed.

At the outset of today’s hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan asked CJP Bandial to excuse himself, inviting a stronger reaction from the top judge.

“It is requested that the chief justice should not be a part of this bench,” AGP Awan said.

Responding to the AGP, CJP Bandial asked if he meant for him to leave the bench. “You should not interfere with our administrative authority.”

The top supreme court judge added that while he respects the request made by Awan, the post of the chief justice is constitutional.