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August 27, 2019

Presidential reference: Justice Isa had offered resignation to CJP

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August 27, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court’s senior judge Qazi Faez Isa disclosed on Monday that he had offered his resignation in an "off the record meeting" with Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa soon after President Arif Alvi sent a reference against him (Justice Isa) to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for allegedly holding undeclared offshore assets.

Justice Isa made this revelation in a petition seeking establishment of a full court bench to hear all petitions saying that the Supreme Judicial Council chairman and its members are biased towards his case.

The petition was filed by Justice Isa in his personal capacity with the Supreme Court on Monday. ”Sir, without having your [CJ Khosa] confidence I would not want to continue as a judge. Sir, I am giving you a blank cheque to ask for my resignation if you have any doubt about my integrity,” Justice Isa stated in his 31-page petition.

"The chief justice reposed confidence in the petitioner [Justice Isa] and said it was not for him to ask for the petitioner's resignation," the petition further read. Justice Isa further disclosed when he was leaving the chamber, the chief justice told him that "this meeting was off the record."

The petitioner (Judge Isa) further revealed as he came away from the first meeting with the impression that the chief justice had had serious reservations about the maintainability of the complaint filed against him.

About "off the record meeting," Justice Isa further revealed that the chief justice called the petitioner [Judge Isa] on the intercom and asked the petitioner to see him (first meeting) at this time the petitioner had no inkling that a complaint had been filed by the president against the petition.

The chief justice received the petitioner with courtesy in his chamber and once both had sat down, the chief justice reached out for one of the two large brown envelopes lying on the table in front of him, retrieved the documents from one of them and handed them to the petitioner.

The petitioner glanced through the documents and was shocked to read the utterly false allegations. Justice Isa briefed the chief justice over properties of his children and wife, during off the record meeting, and then he (chief justice) queried, "Whether a presidential reference can be dismissed without hearing it?"

On the role of chief justice of Pakistan/chairman of the SJC, Justice Isa says he has nothing but respect and regard for Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and benefited from his rich experience and expertise in criminal matters.

"It is, therefore, all the more puzzling that his lordship has disrespected, disparaged, denigrated and castigated the petitioner in the strongest of terms (as mentioned in paragraph 4 and 10 herein [Reference 427 order]. It is respectfully submitted that the language used by the chief justice/chairman in the council's order sadly demonstrates his lordships bias and prejudice towards the petitioner," further read the petition.

Justice Isa also mentioned the SJC's order stated that "dragging the prime minister and his different spouses and children into the matter through such letters was in bad taste, to say the least in his petition.

"It was the prime minister, who was dragging the petitioner's only spouse of over 36 years and his two adult children into the matter and not the other way around. The petitioner's wife and adult children were illegally surveilled, Pakistan's intelligence apparatus was deployed and public funds were also misused.

The personal data records and documents of the petitioner wife's and adult children were probed, examined, scrutinised, dissected and analysed, including the confidential record maintained by the Nadra, FIA, Passport and Immigration Office, FBR and Ministry of Interior.

The harvested mismatched information and documents were then used to paint half truth and put together a false reference. The order overlooks the said misdeeds of the prime minister and instead expresses all its sympathy for the prime minister," page 9-10 of the petition further stated.

Justice Isa also revealed that he "straight away and without any hesitation acknowledged that he knew of the three properties which were owned by this wife and adult children and that the petitioner had no concern with them.

The petitioner then said to the chief justice, “Why should I disclose the properties of my wife and children in my wealth tax statements, there is no requirement to do so' or words to this effect).

Since the complaint relied upon section 116 (1) (b) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 and as this provision was reproduced in the reference, the petitioner read it aloud, which stated that such disclosure is required only if a notice is sent by the commissioner and then too disclosure is only required to be made of the properties of a dependent spouse and dependent minor children.

Then chief justice examined the said provision himself and enquired whether the petitioner had received any notice from the commissioner and the petitioner stated that he had not."

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