LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) judge Justice Muhammad Farrukh Irfan Khan, facing a misconduct reference in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for his alleged involvement in the offshore companies scam revealed in the Panama Papers, resigned from his post yesterday.

Justice Muhammad Farrukh Irfan has sent his resignation to President Arif Alvi and also informed the Supreme Judicial Council about his decision, however, no notification has so far been issued, said sources.

The resignation came after last Monday’s hearing of the misconduct reference as the SJC showed dissatisfaction over the witnesses produced by the ex-LHC judge in his defence.

In February 2017, he was issued a show-cause notice by the SJC after his name surfaced in the list of property owners abroad in the 2016 Panama Papers.

The SJC, which is the only constitutional forum authorised to remove superior court judges under Article 209 of the Constitution after conducting inquiry, has been presented by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) the record of five firms held by the judge in the country. He is also accused of not declaring an offshore firm in his tax returns, and issued notice by the regional tax officer.

During the last hearing, an SJC five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, had given the last opportunity to Mr Farrukh Irfan to produce witness in the reference which was filed by a former bureaucrat Nazar Muhammad Chohan. The sources further said that the judge had to produce four witnesses but only two of them could turn up and could not satisfy the council.

Article 209(6) provides, “If, after inquiring into the matter, the Council reports to the President that it is of the opinion, (a) that the Judge is incapable of performing the duties of his office or has been guilty of misconduct, and (b) that he should be removed from office, the President may remove the judge from office.”

As the SJC conducts inquiry on misconduct against sitting judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, not former judges, Mr Farrukh Irfan’s resignation may prove to be beneficial for him.

Farrukh Irfan was appointed as a judge of the LHC on February 20, 2010 with his tenure set to conclude on June 22, 2020.