Imran Khan seeks to recuse Pak CJI from hearing cases related to him, his party

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 1 (ANI): Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan is considering seeking the recusal of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa from any bench hearing matters related to him or his party, after expressing mistrust in Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamir Farooq, The Express Tribune reported.

Imran’s spokesperson, Shoaib Shaheen, held a meeting with the PTI founder at the Adiala Jail, where it was decided that CJP Isa should not hear cases related to the former PM and his party, in light of a larger bench order that Justice Isa should not hear cases involving the former.

Shaheen stated further that the PTI would move an application for his recusal if any matter related to the party or its founder came up before any bench led by CJP Isa.

He added that they were preparing a petition against alleged rigging in the February 8 general elections and the same would be filed in the apex court soon, The Express Tribune reported.

Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, have already expressed mistrust in the IHC Chief Justice.

Thereafter, the IHC issued notices to superior bars on their objections. However, the matter is still pending in the apex court, according to the report.

The previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government had also expressed mistrust in the bench, led by former CJP Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Munib Akhtar, in the matter regarding the holding of general elections of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) assemblies.

The then PDM government requested the constitution of a full court but it was rejected.

Previously, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had raised objections of bias against then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, The Express Tribune reported.

Similar allegations of bias were levelled by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) against then-Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar. However, both parties could not succeed in recusing them from hearing cases related to them.

Significantly, there was no judicial order restraining them from hearing cases related to a particular party.

In CJP Isa’s case, a larger bench led by CJP Gulzar Ahmed on February 11, 2021, held that Justice Isa should not hear cases involving Imran Khan.

The lawyers, however, are questioning why the PTI is agitating as Justice Isa is hearing the PTI cases only after taking charge as the CJP, the report noted.

The PTI lawyers showed that they completely trusted him. Secondly, the apex court already ruled that only the judge himself could decide about allegations of bias against him, according to The Express Tribune.

Even the Balochistan Bar Council, through Hamid Khan’s advocate, had filed a review petition against the court’s Feb 11, 2011 order barring Justice Isa from hearing cases concerning Imran. However, the review petition is still pending.

The situation changed after the January 13 order, wherein the bench led by CJP Isa held that PTI’s intra-party elections were illegal.

Subsequently, the PTI was deprived of its election symbol.

The PTI legal team said it was disappointed with the SC’s decision as it withdrew the contempt petition against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the executive authorities for not implementing the court’s order to provide a level playing field to the party during the elections.

Several lawyers, according to reports, said they were not satisfied with the judiciary’s role in recent elections, about which there have been accusations of rigging; the implications of the January 13 order, wherein the PTI is facing difficulty getting reserved seats, allowing the trial of civilians in military courts by suspending the SC judgment, and the arrest of the PTI female activists.

However, the PTI needs to understand that the judiciary is the only institution that redresses its grievances, The Express Tribune reported.

When the PTI’s relationship was cordial with the security establishment, the superior courts were granting it relief, the report noted, adding that now, however, as the relationship has soured, the party is finding it difficult to get judicial decisions in its favour. (ANI)