On Monday, Pakistan's Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial responded to Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's accusations that the judiciary has projected bias by granting bail and greeting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's chief Imran Khan in the court. Chief Justice of Pakistan Bandial told former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan "Good to see you," and his remark attracted a backlash from the federal cabinet that questioned CJP's court etiquette.
On May 16, CJP Bandial justified his demeanour saying that he greets everyone in the court using positive remarks. During a hearing, the CJP had an interaction with lawyer Asghar Sabzwari whom he also greeted saying “I am pleased to see you as you have appeared in my court after a considerable period.” Pakistan's Supreme Court judge clarified that he says “good to see you” to everyone, adding that he had faced mounting criticism from the ruling government for using the phrase. Justice Bandial noted that he holds respect for everyone and that the “etiquette and manners” in the court premises were vital elements.
CJP Bandial says he is being "criticised for greeting Khan in the same manner; however, he uses this phrase often".
“I hold everyone in high esteem as respect and courteousness are important for everybody,” CJP Bandial remarked, adding, "Without these two aspects, there is no fun," he noted, according to Islamabad based Geo news.
During his speech at the federal cabinet, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif berated the Supreme Court's decision of granting bail to his political rival, resorting to the harshest criticism. "If you keep favouring this ladla then you should also release all the dacoits," he said, taking a swipe at the judiciary. He stressed that the top court has displayed "such double standards" by exchanging pleasantries with the PTI chief when he appeared before the court and came to the rostrum.
PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz launched scathing attacks against Pakistan's Supreme Court's Chief Justice saying that there was now a “judicial martial law” in Pakistan. On May 15, she arrived to participate in the Pakistan Democratic Movement [PDM's] sit-in outside the country's Supreme Court to boycott the judiciary ruling, and added that she was against Imran Khan's "facilitators,” according to Pakistan's Aaj News. Maryam asserted that protecting Khan, who provoked violence, treating him as a royal guest, and praising him in the court was an insult.
“Chief Justice sahib! You are no longer a symbol of justice. You have become a threat to the Constitution, the rule of law, and national security. After becoming a facilitator of a terrorist who plays with the destiny of the country, you have lost your dignity,” Maryam was quoted as saying.