The judicial commission, formed to investigate the veracity of recent audio leaks, adjourned the proceedings on Saturday hours after it was resumed despite the top court’s order that barred the commission from functioning further.
“The learned AGP has read out order dated 26 May 2023 passed in Constitution petitions No. 14 to 17/ 2023, which he states are petitions filed under Article 184(3) of Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” said the short order.
“We enquired from the learned AG whether the Inquiry Commission (the commission) has been arrayed as a respondent and he stated that in Constitution Petitions No. 14 and 15/2023 the Commission is arrayed as respondent No. 2 through its Secretary. In view of the aforesaid order, the proceedings of the Commission are adjourned.”
The commission comprises Justice Isa, Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan, and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq. The body is tasked to probe the veracity of recent audio leaks.
But the hearing resumed a day after a five-member Supreme Court bench, headed by CJP Umar Ata Bandial, stopped on Friday the three-member judicial commission from working until the next hearing. The case would be heard again on May 31 (Wednesday).
On its last hearing, the commission said that the audio leaks proceedings would be made public and it would also examine the request for in-camera proceedings on the sensitive issue.
Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman appeared in court on Saturday.
Justice Isa asked the AGP about the order issued by the Supreme Court related to the commission. He asked him to submit a copy of the order to the court. AGP Usman followed the order and read out Friday’s order that stayed the commission’s proceedings.
The head of the commission asked the attorney general whether he was asked to appear in court. To this, AGP Usman replied that he was informed about the order verbally not on paper. He added that he was given a notice after the hearing.
Justice Isa wondered how the commission could be stopped from working as it was not even given prior notice.
According to the Supreme Court rules, the senior puisne judge said that the order was issued after hearing the parties. But such a practice was not followed here.
The commission head demanded a copy of the court order should be submitted to the court, saying: “To some extent, I also know law.” He asked the AGP why he did not inform the top court that the commission has already explained its points of objection.
“Did Shoaib Shaheen say yesterday that the matter on the audio should be sent directly to the Supreme Judicial Council? Dozens of such complaints come. Should we approve them and send them to the Supreme Judicial Council? Should we destroy someone’s life without knowing the authenticity of the audio?” he said.
Justice said he was “surprised” to see that the AGP ignored such points on Friday.
The judge observed that the matter of who recorded the audio was of secondary concern.
Justice Isa added that Abid Zuberi and Shoaib Shaheen did not bother to appear in court but had a press talk.
Privacy belonged to home, the commission said, and asked if the CCTV installed outside was also against privacy.
“This cannot happen if a judge is accused, he should be allowed to go on like this without investigating,” Justice Isa, “this inquiry commission was formed under the law.”
He said: “At least we would have been issued a notice, if others have respect, so should we have.”
He said that his case was also mentioned during Friday’s case, adding that his case was different. The commission asked the AGP to read the decision of Justice Isa case. He read out the mentioned paragraph.
“That stage had not come yet, nor we are doing that,” Justice Isa said, adding that one witness was present.
The commission head ordered the AGP to read the oath of the judge, which he followed. To this, Justice Isa said that he was bound to implement the oath.
“This commission was formed under the Commission of Inquiry Act,” Justice Isa. “We are only servants of Allah and no one else.”