Lawyers warn of movement if govt interferes in JIT probe

Staff Reporter

Islamabad
The Pakistan Bar Council has threatened to launch a countrywide movement if the federal government tried to interfere in the joint investigation team’s probe into the Panama Papers case.
In a statement issued on Saturday, PBC Vice Chairman Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon and Executive Committee Chairman Hafeezur Rehman Chaudhry condemned former Pakistan Muslim League-N senator Nehal Hashmi’s remarks in a video leaked earlier this week wherein he was seen threatening judges and the members of the JIT.
The lawyers’ body termed Hashmi’s statement “a manipulated and managed move of the government” to make the JIT investigation controversial and pressure its members and Supreme Court judges.
The PBC stated that Hashmi’s verbal attack against the judiciary and its JIT fell under the purview of Sections 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act so the government should register a case against him.
The bar council also took strong exception to a statement by a government spokesperson who had expressed disappointment over Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh’s likening of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N to the Sicilian Mafia during a hearing.
“[The government spokesperson’s statement] is not only derogatory and contemptuous but also amounts to direct interference in the functioning and independence of the Honourable Supreme Court,” the statement read, adding that action should be taken for such remarks.
The statement further read that the PBC and the legal fraternity had always stood for supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and would stand by the Supreme Court against any political onslaught by the government.
The lawyers’ body warned the government to abstain from creating hurdles in the JIT’s work.
Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti also penned a letter to the Sindh government on Saturday, seeking action against Hashmi for his threatening diatribe.
Writing to the Sindh prosecutor general, Bhatti said the former senator’s speech also falls under Sections 189, 228 and 505 of the Pakistan Penal Code which deals with “threat of injury to a public servant”, “insult or interruption to a public servant sitting in judicial proceeding” and statements conducing to “public mischief”, respectively.

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