–Zahid Ebrahim says govt attempting to ‘browbeat judiciary’, will cause irreparable damage to institution
ISLAMABAD: Objecting to government’s filing of misconduct reference against two senior judges, Additional Attorney General Zahid F Ebrahim on Wednesday resigned from his post, accusing the government of attempting to “browbeat the judiciary”.
In his resignation letter, Ebrahim cited media reports about government filing misconduct reference against two senior judges for allegedly possessing undisclosed foreign assets, adding that senior government officials had also confirmed the same.
“One of the references is against a senior Supreme Court judge who is widely recognised for his unimpeachable integrity and against whom the government has already revealed its mind in the much-publicised review petitions in S.M.C. No.7 of 2017 filed last month,” he said, adding that it is a “reckless attempt to tar the reputation of independent individuals and could cause irreparable damage to the institution which is the protector of our fundamental rights and the bedrock of our fledgling democracy”.
He further said that under such conditions, he cannot continue in office.
On Tuesday, the incumbent government filed a misconduct reference against two senior judges for possessing undeclared foreign assets. Reportedly, President Arif Alvi filed the reference against the judges who possess undeclared foreign properties themselves or through their spouses.
The wife of one of the judges owns a property in Spain which was not declared in the wealth statement of the judge. It is unclear whether the tax records list the spouse as the judge’s dependent or not.
According to reports, the reference was prepared within the Law Ministry with help from a former apex court judge. The government also registered a complaint against some high court judges who own foreign properties.
Later on Tuesday, the legal fraternity started consultations over the matter and urged that the seriousness of the charges must be kept in mind before such references are filed as the Article 209 of the Constitution allows judges to be removed over misconduct.