ISLAMABAD: Vilification campaign has been launched through the social media against honorable SC Judge Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan in order to connect a routine allotment of residential plot to him in Islamabad to his recent majority judgment in Panama case.
In actual, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan was allotted second residential plot in D-12 sector in January this year as per the policy of the government. He got this allotment on the basis of his seniority and following Supreme Court and Housing Ministry’s routine interaction on the matter.
Presently the two SC judges are senior to him including Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa. Both of these honourable judges have already been allotted second residential plots in D-12 Sector of Islamabad in 2013.
The vilification campaign propagates as if a special favour has been done to Justice Ejaz Afzal by the government days before the announcement of the Panama verdict. However, the facts as stated above totally refute this propaganda, apparently unleashed to defame the Judge and discredit the majority decision.
Under the same policy, the head of the five-member bench Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa was allotted two residential plots in G-14 and D-12 sectors of Islamabad. In seniority, Justice Ejaz Afzal is next to Justice Khosa and thus has been allotted plot as per the policy and on the basis of his seniority among the SC judges. Among the present SC judges, top three judges have got their second residential plot while others will be offered on the basis of availability of plots and as per the government’s policy.
During the recent years and since the introduction of two plots policy for the judges, former Chief Justice Jawad Khawaja is the only exception who volunteered not to get second residential plot in Islamabad.
Previously though once ex-chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had declined to get second residential plot in Islamabad, during the dying days of his retirement he applied for the plot. However, Justice (R) Chaudhry has not yet been allotted the second plot because the executive committee of the Housing Foundation had already allotted the plot ear-marked for him to the then next senior judge Justice (R) Amir Hani Muslim.
In 2006 former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had approved the special “assistance package for BPS-22 officers” under which civil servants were allowed two one kanal residential plots in Islamabad.
In 2007, the then CJ Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took suo moto notice of this policy and questioned how could the state land be allotted to a selected class like this. However, after Nov 3rd, 2007 emergency of General Musharraf when he removed several judges of the superior judiciary including Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the SC under Justice ® Abdul Hameed Dogar dismissed the suo moto case and endorsed the two plots policy for federal secretaries and grade-22 officers.
During the same time, the then government extended the two plots policy of federal secretaries and BS-22 officers to the judges of the Supreme Court. Since then this policy is under implementations and all judges except Justice ® Jawad Khawaja got allotted two residential plots of one kanal each in the federal capital.
Interestingly, the incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif soon after his arrival in 2013 decided to review the policy and hinted at rescinding the rule of two plots allotment to apex court judges, federal secretaries and BS-22 officers. However, because of latent pressures he lifted the suspension and revived the policy.