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SC suspends Babar Awan's licence temporarily

18 January, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily suspended practicing licence of Dr Babar Awan, the president's counsel in ZAB case, for passing contemptuous remark against the judiciary soon after he received a show cause notice from a two-member bench on January 4 over his address in a press conference.

The court directed the attorney general of Pakistan to inform the president to engage another lawyer to address arguments in the reference for revisiting the death sentence of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

The Supreme Court Registrar has been directed to collect the enrolment files of Babar Awan from the Pakistan Bar Council and the Punjab Bar Council where he was enrolled as an advocate as well as the judicial files in pursuance whereof he was issued contempt of court notices by the Lahore High Court, so that the court may know the result thereof.

The court, however, granted time to Babar for filing a reply and engaging a counsel to defend him. The court also asked him to request the registrar for taking up the case as soon as he engaged his counsel and filed the reply.

An 11-member bench was hearing the reference sent by President Asif Ali Zardari under Article 186 of the constitution, seeking the Supreme Court's opinion on death sentence awarded to ZAB.

At the outset of hearing, Babar requested the court to grant him time to file a reply and engage a counsel to the contempt notice issued to him. The court rejected his plea and said that he had already been granted sufficient time.

Supreme Court Bar Association President Yasin Azad also requested the bench to give him time but the court declined his plea as well.

The chief justice said: "We have to proceed with the case, as early as possible, without causing delay in any manner and unless the question of notice is decided, it would not be appropriate to proceed with the reference.

The chief justice also observed that where judiciary is not respected, system is derailed.

The court observed that good relationship between the bench and the bar depends upon mutual respect.

The court adjourned the hearing of the reference for indefinite period holding that the hearing would be resumed as soon as the president nominated another counsel in the case.


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