LAHORE - A confrontation between the bar and the bench is imminent, as the Lahore High Court Bar Association has gone on the front foot against the chief justice of Pakistan and some other judges after Supreme Court’s contempt notice issuance to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan for passing derogatory remarks against the judiciary.

The bar has sent out signals it can launch a movement against the justices. It has however denied any inside support against Justice Chaudhry for the movement and media trial.

On July 30, bar’s general house meeting adopted a resolution, calling for presidential references against Justice Chaudhry, Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed for violating the Constitution in their judgment on the presidential election.

And now it has reacted bitterly to the contempt notice issued to Imran Khan and termed it unconstitutional.

“Contempt of court law is being misused,” bar president Abid Saqi and other office-bearers said in a statement while referring to the notice served on the cricketer-turned-politician last Wednesday.

“The majority of the people and heads of political parties have expressed no-confidence over recent national and regional elections. It shows the Supreme Court and Election Commission of Pakistan have joined hands to support a single political party,” the statement released by the bar went on to say.

It feared if the court penalised Imran Khan by disqualify him ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, might act unilaterally on important decisions on the various (national and international) issues.

Bar president Saqi said he was not ‘deaf’ or ‘dumb’ and that he could not keep silent over the miseries of poor litigants. He said the decisions of the superior judiciary had actually impacted the country’s judicial system adversely.

“We are not seeing any dissenting note of any judge of the Supreme Court which shows all the judges are validating decisions of each other,” Saqi told The Nation.

He denied an impression that the bar was targeting the chief justice of Pakistan and other justices at the behest of some other judges. “These judges don’t have the courage to support any such move,” concluded Saqi.

POSSIBLE EXTENSION TO CJP TENURE CHALLENGED: A constitutional petition moved in Supreme Court has challenged the near-certainty of inclusion of the 18-month period, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry spent unseated, to his tenure as the chief justice of Pakistan.

In his petition, Barrister Zafarullah Khan submitted that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was intending to allow Justice Chaudhry hold the office for 18 more months that would be a violation of the Constitution and law.

He pointed out the very possibility was being discussed in the media but the government did not reject such news reports.  The petitioner argued that any extension to the chief justice of Pakistan was unconstitutional.

Khan requested the court take notice of such reports and issue appropriate directions to the quarters concerned.