ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan was issued a notice by the Supreme Court on Monday for “attending a ceremony organised by a political party”.
“The prime minister of Pakistan took votes from the entire country: he is prime minister of the entire country, not a particular group or party,” Justice Qazi Isa, who presided over the matter, said in the notice.
Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan was also issued a notice by the court for assistance in this regard.
Justice Isa also expressed his displeasure with the advocate general of Punjab for skipping a case hearing to attend the Insaf Lawyers Forum programme, which had been organised at Islamabad’s Convention Centre on Friday.
“How did a political party use a government building for its event? Can the Islamabad administration inform the court whether a fee was paid to book the venue,” he asked during the hearing.
‘Event was organised by lawyers’
“Does the office of the prime minister allow that they associate themselves with a particular party?” Justice Isa asked. “Did he [PM Imran Khan] attend the event as the prime minister?” he asked Additional Advocate General Punjab Qasim Chohan.
“The advocate general Punjab, instead of discharging his professional duties, was attending an event organised by a political party,” he continued.
“Can a judge be allowed to attend an event organised by the panel of a political party? Can a judge do this: what does the law say about this?” he asked.
“The advocate general attended the event because it had been organised by lawyers,” Chohan responded.
“You should tell me if the advocate general and the prime minister should have even been there,” Justice Isa retorted. “Your answer may cost you your job, but [upholding] the law should be above your job.”
“I am not a political appointee,” Chohan responded. “I did not attend the event or watch a video of it, so I cannot respond to your questions [at the moment].”
“Can the holder of a Constitutional office misuse state resources?” Justice Isa continued, “Can this happen in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?”
“You seem to be withholding your opinion on the matter. The Quran states that you should testify even if it be against your own parents,” Justice Isa said.
“I am only here to represent the Government of Punjab. I cannot comment on [decisions taken by] the prime minister,” Chohan said in response.
‘Advocate general Punjab unfit for job’
Justice Isa said that he was referring the matter to the chief justice for suo motu notice.
“Prima facie, it seems the advocate general Punjab is not fit to work in the province’s interests,” the court subsequently said in its notice. “The court should be assisted in answering the question whether the prime minister should have attended such an event. Does the prime minister’s oath and the law provision for him to do so?”
“Can the prime minister attend a private event on the state’s expense?”
The apex court subsequently issued notices to the prime minister, the attorney general, the advocate general Punjab and the Islamabad administration.
It also summoned the vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council and the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association for its next hearing on the matter.