ISLAMABAD: Justice Tariq Masood of the Supreme Court recused himself on Tuesday from hearing petitions seeking probes into the US cypher issue.
The Supreme Court heard identical petitions demanding an investigation into the claimed “threat letter” including an alleged foreign plan to destabilize former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government. However, Justice Masood withdrew from the hearing and asked Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to appoint another judge to hear these petitions.
Following that, the appeals were returned to the CJP.
Advocates Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta, Syed Tariq Badar, and Naeemul Hassan submitted the applications to the Supreme Court, while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the government also filed separate petitions.
On March 27, 2022, at a public gathering of PTI workers, the PTI chairman removed a piece of paper from his pocket and flashed it at the crowd, claiming it was evidence of an “international plot” to destabilize his administration.
Later, Advocate Bhutta petitioned the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, citing the Federal Government of Pakistan and the Law Secretary as respondents.
He stated that the circumstance was unprecedented and could destabilize the country’s law and order by sowing enmity against friendly countries. He had asked the Supreme Court to order the respondent to deliver the “letter” to the civil and military officers for examination.
The registrar’s office, however, returned the plea, arguing that the petitioner had not stated what issues of public importance were involved in the case involving any fundamental rights to invoke the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.
The registrar’s office further stated that the plea did not meet the requirements for the court to exercise its exceptional jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.
According to the registrar’s office, the applicant appropriately drew the notice, not indicating the purpose of the petition or delivering a copy of the petition to the respondent. It noted that the petition was not drawn in accordance with the Supreme Court Rules of 1980.
However, the applicant, Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta, filed a chamber appeal before the supreme court against the registrar’s objections, pleading for his appeal to be granted and the matter to be heard by the top court’s bench.
He claimed that his petition was properly appropriate under Article 184(3) of the constitution and that the registrar’s objections to its hearing before the bench were illegal.