PDM faces huge setback from Supreme Court

PDM faces huge setback from Supreme Court

In Islamabad, the Supreme Court handed down a decision on Friday, dismissing the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government's objections to the bench assigned to hear petitions challenging the audio leaks commission.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan, while announcing the reserved judgment, characterized the raised objections as "an attack on the judiciary." The five-member like-minded larger bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Bandial, had accused the PDM government of causing delays in court proceedings and failing to implement orders related to the Punjab Assembly elections.

The court, despite facing such actions from the federal government with tolerance, emphasized that the refusal to implement a final and binding court judgment could entail consequences as outlined in the Constitution.

Previously, the former coalition government had expressed objections regarding the presence of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Muneeb Akhtar on the bench handling the case. On May 26, the Supreme Court had temporarily halted the proceedings of the commission led by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, which also included Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq.

In a written order, the Supreme Court noted that Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan had raised objections, citing "conflict of interest," regarding the inclusion of the three judges on the bench. During the hearing, Awan argued for the separation of these judges from the bench, while the petitioner's lawyer presented counterarguments.

After considering both sides' arguments, the court reserved its verdict, affirming that the order issued on May 26 would remain in effect until the objections raised regarding the bench's formation were resolved. The hearing for the case was adjourned indefinitely.

The order underscored that a well-established constitutional principle had been breached, as the federal government appeared to have acted unilaterally in this matter without seeking the Chief Justice's permission. The commission's task was to investigate alleged audio recordings, including one featuring the voice of Justice Naqvi, along with other significant audio clips, including that of Advocate Khawaja Tariq Rahim.