The Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) of government said it has been informed of the existence of foreign properties owned by three judges of Pakistan, a joint notification with the Ministry of Law and Justice (MoJ) said on Sunday.
The notification, which comes as the latest development pertaining to reports of the government s decision to file references against certain judges, further said the ministry had authority in this regard in accordance with the Rules of Business (1973) pertaining to the judges.
It said the matter was referred to the MoJ for relevant action with regard to a petition about certain judges owning properties outside of Pakistan. The MoJ, consequently, had advised the Assets Recovery Unit to initiate action, the notification stated, adding that it was told to verify the matter highlighted in the petition.
The ARU, therefore, worked in collaboration with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to gather information.
It should be noted that action can only be initiated based on verified information, the notification stressed.
The ARU has obtained verified registries of the judges properties. These registries have been notarised and verified by the Pakistani High Commission in the United Kingdom, it added.
In this context and information, the matter will now be presented to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). If the president and the prime minister had not taken steps in accordance with Article 209, they would have been neglecting their duties.
The president, prime minister, MoJ, and the ARU have strongly believe in the law, the Constitution of Pakistan, and the judiciary s freedom, it reiterated.
The SJC is the only constitutional authority mandated by Article 209 of the Constitution to conduct inquiries into allegations of incapacity or misconduct against a judge of the Supreme Court or of a high court.
The SJC comprises the chief justice of Pakistan as the chairperson, two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, and two senior-most judges of the high courts as members.
Earlier, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday demanded the government to withdraw references against the judges.
PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi expressed reservations over presidential references against judges and demanded the government to withdraw them.