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Monday June 17, 2024

'A PM ousted for not receiving salary from his son': Justice Isa

Justice Qazi Faez Isa criticises SC verdict to remove ex-PM Nawaz Sharif during speech at 4th Asma Jahangir Conference

By Web Desk
October 22, 2022
Justice Faez Isa addressing 4th Asma Jahangir Conference in Lahore. — YouTube screengrab
Justice Faez Isa addressing 4th Asma Jahangir Conference in Lahore. — YouTube screengrab

One of the top most judges in Pakistan, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, criticised the Supreme Court's verdict to remove former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for "not disclosing and receiving  notional income".

“Another prime minister was removed for non-disclosure of notional income which he never received,” Justice Isa said Saturday in criticism of some of the major past verdicts of the judiciary in Pakistan in his address at the 4th Asma Jahangir Conference happening in Lahore. 

Justice Isa, who himself is a SC judge, said that he was  not going to comment about the judgement on Nawaz's ouster but quoted what it said. 

“Mr prime minister, you were entitled to receive the salary but you didn’t receive it and didn’t disclose it. So you’re not a good Muslim so we send you home, the judgement says,” Justice Isa said, adding that he won’t say if he agrees with it or not.

The judge furthered his criticism, saying that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was formed to probe the case, a term he was at that time was "unfamiliar" with as   is mentioned nowhere in any of the laws in Pakistan except for the Anti-Terrorism Act.

'Judiciary among institutions authorised by Constitution'

Justice Isa began by saying that Pakistan’s coming into being was unprecedented in the world.

"The constitution clearly lays down the distribution of authority for different institutions and the judiciary is one of them. Pakistan was created in a democratic way."

He said that the first attack on democracy was perpetrated by a bureaucrat Ghulam Mohammad.

Justice Isa said it was Moulvi Tameezuddin who had challenged the dissolution of the legislative assemblies of Pakistan.

“Pakistan needs both judiciary and executive; however, what it needs the most is a [democratic] peoples-elected government.”

He said removing democracy from Pakistan would be tantamount to stabbing the country in the back and treason.

“Everyone should respect the constitution.”

Moving on to the removal of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Justice Isa said that the politician was tried by a civil court, not a military court.

“I was on the bench that took up the case of establishment of military courts. I was the senior most junior judge and a part of the minority decision.”

He said that the constitution was torn apart, but a petition against the act was declared hearable, he said while referring to the coup led by General Ziaul Haq.

Justice Isa said that if a citizen monitoring institution for democracy is established, it can monitor those getting salaries and pensions from the government.

'Politics of plots very famous in Pakistan'

The justice said that he will place General Ayub Khan, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and General Pervez Musharraf in the executive's blacklist and will place the first and second army chiefs of Pakistan in the whitelist.

He said that Ayub Khan asked for a plot from the army chief. Later, the army chief was removed and the politics revolving around plots started. "Politics of plots is very famous in Pakistan," he said.

Justice Isa said that he will not point fingers at any institutions.

"I was chief justice at the Balochistan High Court for five years and judges cannot say that they are under pressure. If someone says that he is under pressure then he is not following the oath he has taken," he remarked.

He recalled an interview of a chief justice and said that it had brought tears in his eyes. "That chief justice had said that the verdict of the Bhutto case was given under pressure," said Justice Isa.

He further said that the Constitution is what keeps the country united.