SC holds full court reference on eve of Justice Maqbool Baqar’s retirement

ISLAMABAD, Apr 04 (APP):A full court reference was held here at the Supreme Court in the honour of Justice Maqbool Baqar, who retired on Monday.

The reference was addressed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Maqbool Baqar, the Attorney General for Pakistan, the President of Supreme Court Bar Association, Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council and others. It was attended by all the Supreme Court judges, senior advocates and others.

Speaking on the occasion, Justice Maqbool Baqar said,”Today, as I prepare to lay my judicial robes as the clock strikes midnight, I sit before you to appraise my two decades as a judge of the superior courts. I hope that I too have played a humble role in making justice more accessible and in alleviating the agony of the most vulnerable. Nonetheless, I would be remiss to let these precious moments go to waste and not share some thoughts on the state of justice in our country.

“During my time on the bench, I have been a witness to a number of consequential events. One such event occurred in March 2007 when the then chief justice was capriciously removed from office. In an unprecedented move, lawyers and members of the civil society from across the country came out in protest. As the regime’s repression and attempts to emasculate the judiciary became more severe, so did the resolve of those struggling for the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution,” he added.

Justice Maqbool Baqar said it was through that revolutionary movement, which supported, not the restoration of an individual but a return to a democratic dispensation that the deposed judges were reinstated and the independence of the judiciary secured.

“As the apex court, we are the public’s last hope. They come here from across the country in the hope that they will be heard. As such, we must be empathetic, kind, and afford them a patient hearing,” he added.

AGP Khalid Jawed, addressing the full court reference, said Justice Maqbool Baqar had an excellent judicial career behind, and it would be injustice if his role during the PCO period was not referred.

“The dictator was not aware that he will be awarded punishment over breaking the Constitution,” he said.

“Nowadays Article 06 being conveniently referred for use against political opponents,” he said. “The 2007 episode will have to be kept in mind for understanding the Article 06,” the AGP said.

He said the objective of the Constitution’s articles were not for assessing the loyalty of someone with the country. “Justice Maqbool Baqar had to pay price of the 2007 incident,” AGP Khalid Jawed said.

He said it was intending to resign after the presidential reference, but as in the good time, he would keep the company in bad time. Stepping down in the circumstances would be equal to leaving the field without contest, he added.