The Supreme Court of Pakistan has nullified the concerns previously articulated by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government regarding the composition of the five-judge bench adjudicating the audio commission case. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial spearheads the bench, including Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Shahid Waheed, and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi. Initially, the PDM government opposed the presence of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Munib Akhtar on the bench, denouncing it as an encroachment on the judiciary’s autonomy.
This pivotal decision, which dismisses the previous government’s objections as an insult to judicial independence, was announced by Justice Ijazul Ahsan in response to a petition from Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abid Shahid Zuberi. The Supreme Court had previously adjourned the hearing on the government’s petition on June 6.
Background of the Audio Commission Case
Delving into the background of the case, on May 26, the chief justice had led the Supreme Court’s five-member bench in halting proceedings on several petitions that questioned the legality of the judicial commission established by the federal government at the time. This commission, chaired by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the senior-most judge at the Supreme Court following the Chief Justice of Pakistan, was entrusted with investigating alleged audio leaks implicating a Supreme Court judge and a high-ranking judge’s relative. The commission’s member line-up also featured other prominent figures, such as Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan, working collaboratively to ascertain the authenticity of the audio leaks.