The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) has dismissed objections raised by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the previous government, regarding the composition of a judicial panel assigned to oversee a case involving leaked audio recordings. In May 2023, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, along with Justices Ijazul Ahsen, Munib Akhtar, Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi, and Shahid Waheed, formed a larger bench to address petitions challenging the former government’s establishment of a commission led by Justice Qazi Faez Isa. This commission aimed to investigate leaked audio recordings implicating SCP judges.
The PDM government sought the removal of Chief Justice Bandial, Justice Ahsan, and Justice Akhtar from the five-member panel, citing concerns about their impartiality. In response, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abid Shahid Zuberi filed a petition urging the SCP to declare the commission’s formation illegal.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan, delivering the final verdict, declared the government’s objections against the judges as an “attack on the independence of the judiciary.” The SCP had reserved this verdict on June 6 and, earlier, on May 26, had temporarily suspended the commission’s operation until May 31 to allow for further examination of the matter, as announced by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial in a concise statement.