ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) is ready to assist the Supreme Court in Panama Leaks case if asked, said the council’s vice-chairman on Friday.

Barrister Dr Faroogh Naseem, vice-chairman of the PBC on Friday held a press conference along with the newly-elected President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Rasheed Rizvi and the vice-chairmen of the Punjab and Balochistan High Court Bar Councils.

The PBC vice-chairman said that if the larger bench of the apex court, which was hearing Panama Leaks, would issue notice to assist it then they would assist the court as amicus curae (friend of the court).  He said that the petitions before the august court on Panamagate were maintainable.

Barrister Naseem said that it was the demand of the Bar that the Supreme Court took up the Panama leaks issue, adding intentionally they were not interfering in the affairs of judicial organ of state so it could independently decide the case. He said that the Panama Papers issue remained pending in the parliament for many months, but nothing happened therefore it landed in the apex court.

Naseem said that the PBC did not like to interfere into politics, but wanted an end of the culture of corruption. Rizvi said in the parliament the majority rules, adding the Panama Papers issue was discussed in the parliament, but could not be solved.  He said that since 2008 the National Assembly and the Senate had been working without interference besides that corruption could not be controlled, as the decisions were made on the basis of party loyalty. Meanwhile, the PBC also demanded of the federal and the Balochistan governments to fulfil their commitment regarding payment of compensation to the families of persons killed in Quetta blast.  Naseem said so far no help was provided to the heirs of the dead lawyers.

The Balochistan government had announced to pay Rs10 million per deceased lawyer’s family but so far it had not been paid.

The PBC gave a cheque of Rs17 million to the vice-chairman BHCBC Khalil Panazai for lawyers’ families, killed in Quetta carnage.  Naseem said that after the fall of Dhaka, the Quetta incident was the biggest one, besides that nothing had happened to boost the morale of the lawyers’ community in Balochistan.

The bar council also took strong notice of the supervisory committee constituted by the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court for taking action against the lawyers who “misbehaved” with the judges.  The vice-chairman LHCBC objecting to the committee said it was against the law, as it was not the domain of the high court judges to take action against lawyers for their misconduct. He said the Punjab Bar had registered an FIR against those lawyers, who had been found guilty of misbehaviour and misconduct.  They demanded withdrawal of supervisory committee, said the CJ LHC was not authorised to suspend the licences of the lawyers.

Vice-chairman of PBC and the SCBA chief also expressed concern over the present system of appointment of superior courts judges.  They complained that the lawyers’ representative bodies were not being consulted in that regard. Rizvi said the Sindh and Balochistan bar councils had recommended names for appointment as judges in high courts but the Judicial Commission of Pakistan did not consider them.