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Objections raised against three judges hearing pleas against audio leaks commission

ISLAMABAD:A petition raising objections against three judges of the five-judge larger bench- formed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial to hear petitions against the inquiry commission probing audio leaks involving judges- was filed by the federal government here on Tuesday.

In its plea, the government requested that a new bench be formed to hear the petitions against the high-powered judicial commission headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, as a matter of ‘conflict of interest’ was involved in the present five-judge bench.

The petition states that CJP Umar Atta Bandial, Justice Ijaz-ul- Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar should not listen to the audio leak commission case. It further states that these three respected judges should refuse to sit in the five-member larger bench.

“Objection raised by the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan against the CJP’s presence in a hearing on May 25 was not accepted”, the plea added.

It said one of the leaked audios before the inquiry commission related to the CJP’s family member, thus according to judicial decisions and the code of conduct, a judge cannot hear the actions of his relatives.

The plea added that the alleged audio leak is also related to Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar. Former chief minister Punjab Pervaiz Elahi’s audio mentions Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, while the audio between the two women mentioned Justice Munib Akhar, the plea contended as reasons for why these two judges should recuse themselves.

The government had formed the inquiry commission on May 20 headed by senior puisne judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprised Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq.

However, while hearing a set of four petitions against the appointment of the commission, a five-member larger bench headed by CJP Umar Ata Bandial restrained the commission from going ahead with its task.