Latif Afridi, the newly elected President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBA), blamed the security forces for disappearances all over Pakistan, for pressurizing the judiciary, for intervening in politics and for falsely accusing Pakistani citizens of treason. He said that the military is a defense institution, and should limit itself there; it should not intervene in parliamentary and judicial matters.
Afridi, a veteran lawyer from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a candidate of Asma Jahangir’s group, was recently elected to head the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, an association of Supreme Court judges. Addressing the media with several other high-ranking judges in Lahore High Court Bar on Monday, Afridi blamed the Pakistani military for several malfeasances – including the enforced disappearances of people throughout Pakistan.
He said that the army has a single purpose: guarding the borders. Why is it meddling in the internal affairs of the state? We request them to duly perform their duties, and not undermine political movements in the country, he said.
Afridi said that Justice Faez Isa is an impartial judge; he is being framed. He also blamed the judicial elections for cronyism, saying that high-ranking judges are elected through intercession, not merit. He said that some forces had tried to intervene in his election as the president of the Bar Association. This is why the judiciary adopts a partial stance regarding the controversial accusations against politicians, he said.
The SCBA president said that it is due to their frailness that the judges, like the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhary, succumb to the pressure from anti-democratic forces.
He said that the judicial elections must be made fair and transparent, and the Supreme Court Bar Association must play a role in bringing the change.
Afridi said that the false accusations of treason must be curbed. If people like Nawaz Sharif and Ayaz Sadiq say something controversial, their comments must be thoroughly analyzed; no one has the right to label anyone for treason.
Afridi also said that he’d been mistreated by the former President Parvez Musharraf for supporting democratic movements in the past.