The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered the transfer of Additional Session Judge Zafar Iqbal, who was hearing the Toshakhana case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. The IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq has ordered the transfer of eight additional session judges, including Judge Iqbal, on Wednesday. The IHC registrar has issued a notification with details regarding the transfer. According to the notification, Judge Iqbal has been transferred from the west court to the east court.
The transfer of judges from one division to another is a routine administrative matter, but in this case, the timing of the transfer is significant as Judge Iqbal was hearing the Toshakhana case against Imran Khan. The case is related to the alleged misuse of state vehicles and gifts by the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other high-ranking officials. The case was reopened by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in 2020.
According to the latest development in Khan’s Toshakhana case, the IHC had issued a notice to NAB on April 3 to summon the PTI chief and his wife, Bushra Bibi, without following the standard operating procedures (SOPs). The federal top court had taken up the pleas filed by the former prime minister and Bushra Bibi, challenging the call-up notices of February 17 and March 16 issued by the anti-graft watchdog.
Bushra Bibi’s petition had prayed to the court that NAB call-up notices should be declared illegal. The petition had moved the court to stay the inquiry by changing the investigation till the final decision of the Toshakhana case and also stay the disciplinary action against the petitioners based on the call-up notices.
The transfer of Judge Iqbal and other judges is unlikely to affect the proceedings of the Toshakhana case as the case is likely to be transferred to another judge in the Session Division-East. However, the timing of the transfer and the fact that the case involves a high-profile political figure has raised concerns about the independence of the judiciary and the potential for political interference.
In conclusion, the transfer of Judge Iqbal and other judges by the IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq is a routine administrative matter, but the timing of the transfer and the fact that Judge Iqbal was hearing the Toshakhana case against Imran Khan has raised concerns about the independence of the judiciary. The case is likely to be transferred to another judge in the Session Division-East, and the proceedings are unlikely to be affected. However, the case’s high-profile nature and the potential for political interference underscore the importance of an independent judiciary in ensuring justice and upholding the rule of law.