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Saturday November 27, 2021

What happened in Justice Isa case: When, Where, Why and What of Justice Isa case in SC

June 21, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa after 370-days of hearing on Friday.

A large amount of material based on over 4,000 pages was presented before the country's top court in its 46 hearings starting from August 6, 2019. Justice Qazi Faez Isa had prepared his petition on May 28, 2019 which was fixed by for hearing some five weeks later by the Supreme Court under the then Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa. The worthy judges gave powerful observations in this case where around 29 different petitions clubbed with the main petitioned filed by Justice Isa. More than 130 questions were asked by the nine worthy judges of Supreme Court, while honourable judge Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik did not put a single question to the 11 counsels presenting their 69 productive arguments. Pakistan's top legal eagles like Barrister Faroogh Nasim, Salman Akram Raja, Babar Sattar, Munir A. Malik, Rashid A. Rizvi, Senator Raza Rabbani, Iftikhar Durrani, Hamid Khan, Amanullah Kinrani, Anwar Mansoor Khan among others argued the case.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the petitioner, himself also appeared before the ten-member full court for 44 long minutes. His wife Mrs. Zarina Isa also gave her testimony through video link for 43 minutes. Worthy judges passed their remarks while giving some powerful observations during the entire proceedings. Months long intensive investigation involving state's different institutions, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) in particular collected the material against Justice Qazi Faez and his family and submitted all evidences with the apex court in past 12 months. A few questions, however, went unanswered either by Faroogh Nasim, counsel for the federal government and Munir A. Malik, counsel for the petitioner in the apex court.

In the aftermath of the short order, the judge's defending lawyer Munir A. Malik told this correspondent that "all eyes are on the detailed order, FBR investigation and Supreme Judicial Council's proceedings in near future."

The debate on "mala-fide and ill intention" of the federal government while framing this presidential reference against SC's judge, methods adopted to fish the actionable evidences against judge's wife and children, legal status of ARU, tax matters, proceedings of SJC against former CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry, spying judges and their families, role of SJC's statutory power and money trail and source of judge's income to buy properties in London remained in focus in these proceedings which ended up with this order yesterday: “Reference No-1 of 2019 [against judge Isa] is declared to be of no legal effect whatsoever and stands quashed, & in consequence thereof proceedings pending in SJC against Petitioner in CP 17/2019 (including the show-cause notice on Jul 17,2019 issued to him) stand abated."

The order was passed on Friday, June 19, 2020, and it looks as if the apex court preferres 'Fridays' for passing historical rulings. On July 20, 2007, the SC quashed of presidential reference against ex CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The June 19th's judgment quashed President Arif Alvi's reference against Justice Isa. The reference was sent on May 20, 2019, following advice of Prime Minister Imran Khan. A journalist named Waheed Dogar filed the complaint against Justice Isa with ARU in April 2019.

A moving story was told by Mrs. Zarina Isa telling the court on video link that her precious plot was encroached in the heart of Karachi. "I am nervous. My dying father asked me to get cleared my name from the court. My grandchildren, son and daughter are being continuously harassed," Mrs. Zarina Isa told judges, who heard her for 43-long minutes on June 17, 2020. Earlier, on June 16, 2020, Justice Isa told his colleagues, “I turn up here as my wife’s emissary. This is not just Qazi Faez Isa’s case. This case belongs to all of us sitting here today. Send me home if I do not qualify as a judge,” the Justice said. “The court must do whatever the law says.”

On June 15, 2020, Faroogh Nasim told the court that federal government was ready to face consequences in Judge Isa’s case. “It seems as if the president, the prime minister and the former law minister are on trial when the judge should have been on trial,” Faroogh Nasim argued on floor of the court

On June 13, 2020, Justice Maqbool Baqir rubbished impression that judges were not accountable. “Judges were extra accountable than ordinary persons and we are very much amenable to accountability and do not consider us above the law,” Justice Baqir remarked.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial who headed this full court asked Faroogh Nasim that “will the heavens fall if Faizabad Dharna case review is dismissed by Supreme Court...a judge of NAB court [Arshad Malik] with chequered history never faced any surveillance. Nothing happened to him. Here judge Qazi Faez Isa and others face persecution. Persecution is worse than the slaughter.”

Justice Bandial also asked a large number of questions following Justices Mansoor Ali Shah, Yahya Afridi and Maqbool Baqir. Both the parties’ counsels cited more than 51 cases where they read about four dozen excerpts from judicial decisions of some 11 countries, India, UK, US and Canada in particular. References of cases of ex CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry, Panama, Al-Jihad Trust, JITs, etc. were given by the lawyer. Before this bench, Faroogh Nasim, counsel for the federal government consumed around 26 hours. He cited around 31 cases including judicial precedents from the courts of eight countries. Similarly Munir A Malik, counsel for the petitioner, consumed 28 hours to wind up his arguments before the apex court. Two dozen international judgments and books were also submitted to the court as case studies. Faroogh Nasim also put two dozen questions before the judges and the petitioners while the rest of the questions were either asked by other lawyers in this case. The question of money trail and source of income put by Faroogh almost every day and he mentioned it around 76 times before judges and counsels on the rostrum.

The petitioner’s counsel, judges and the respondents focused on Articles 209, 211, 48, 10A, 19-A, 62(1)(e-f), 63, 184(3), 185, and 248 of the Constitution as well as laws associated with FBR, National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency and the representatives of the people of Pakistan. Waheed Dogar, the complainant, and his role remained a mystery in this whole case and judges and petitioner’s counsel mentioned his name over 120 times questioning his role in this reference.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Mirza Shahzad Akbar with his legal team namely Maleeka Bokhari, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Law and Justice attended almost all the proceedings of this case where they spent over 40 long hours in the courtroom. PML-N MNA Mohsin Ranjha, Barrister Zafarullah Khan, Senator Raza Rabbani and some other politicians witnessed almost all the proceedings in the SC.