Pakistan

Supreme Court Rejects PDM’s Plea to Recuse Judges in Audio Leaks Case

ISLAMABAD: In a pivotal verdict on Friday, the Supreme Court firmly rejected the objection raised by the then-Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government against its five-member bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, concerning the controversial audio leaks case.

The then-PDM government had requested the recusal of CJP Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsen, and Justice Munib Akhtar from the larger bench hearing the matter. Citing concerns over impartiality, the government's application highlighted past instances where a judge had opted out of a case due to personal connections. However, the short verdict, voiced by Justice Ahsen, noted that such objections against judges were nothing short of an "attack on the independence of the judiciary".

The contentious audio leaks, currently under investigation by a high-powered judicial commission, involve several prominent figures, including ex-chief justice Saqib Nisar and former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. The commission's formation was initially tasked with unraveling the truth behind these leaks within a 30-day window.

However, the validity of the judicial commission itself came under scrutiny, as questions arose over the exclusion of certain terms of reference. Babar Awan, representing PTI Chairman Imran Khan, even went to the extent of challenging its formation.

Moreover, the government's unilateral decision to form the commission, without consulting CJP Bandial, raised eyebrows and added fuel to an already heated debate. In the wake of these controversies, the Supreme Court decided to suspend the proceedings of the commission temporarily.

Among the leaked audios, significant attention was directed towards a conversation involving the mother-in-law of CJP Umar Ata Bandial and calls concerning the then Chief Justice Saqib Nisar in a purported political role.

As the nation eagerly awaits further development, the apex court's bold stance on preserving the independence of the judiciary is undoubtedly a reaffirmation of its commitment to upholding the rule of law and justice in Pakistan.

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