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April 16, 2021

Justice Isa claims SJC action was malafide

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April 16, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa Thursday severely criticised former two judges including former chief justice, former attorney general, government functionaries as well as sitting law minister.

The judge said that a fifth-generation war had been launched against him and his family; however, he vowed to fight to the last drop of his blood. A 10-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umer Ata Bandial, resumed hearing in the identical review petitions against its last year order of June 19, referring the matter to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), directing it to initiate tax proceedings against the spouse and children of Justice Isa. Justice Isa as well as several bar associations had challenged the apex court decision to the extent of the matter, referred to the FBR.

Commencing his arguments in the review petition, Justice Faez Isa targeted former chief justice Asif Saeed Khosa, government functionaries, former AG Anwar Mansoor Ali Khan, incumbent Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem and Shahzad Akbar of Asset Recovery Unit. The petitioner judge said: "Asif Saeed Khosa stabbed me in the back without listening to my position while fellow judges in the Supreme Judicial Council (JAC) declared me a madman,” Justice Isa said. He said that former judge Azmat Saeed Sheikh was his good friend, but his judgment saddened him, adding that nowadays he was the favourite personality of the government. Justice Muneeb Akhtar, however, told Justice Isa that the judges he was naming had retired. “Do not make repeated allegations against the two [retired] judges,” Justice Muneeb told Justice Isa. Justice Maqbool Baqir,

another member of the bench, asked Justice Isa to concentrate on arguing his case. Justice Isa submitted that till date, not a single person was present in the court, adding that Law Minister Farogh Naseem had no respect for the court. He said the minister levelled allegations against him and his spouse, adding that he may even be ignorant of Islamic teachings.

“Though we are the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in fact we are a nation of hypocrites,” Justice Isa said. He said the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) had no legal status, adding that Shehzad Akbar was a worker of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) but not an elected person, adding that he [Shehzad] was an influential person of the country so no one asked him anything. Akbar was an employee of NAB with a monthly salary of Rs8,000,” Justice Isa said.

Justice Bandial, however, asked the judge that political figures get government posts, hence he should not call it wrong.

“Leave these things and come to the real issue,” Justice Bandial told Justice Isa.

Justice Maqbool Baqir told the petitioner judge that the court had already talked about the Asset Recovery Unit in the judgment.

Justice Isa said that former Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan had committed contempt of court while saying that the judges were helping him.

“Till date, Anwar Mansoor has not apologised to the court,” Justice Isa said, adding that Mansoor had said that he had given statement on the direction of Farogh Naseem.

Justice Isa said Anwar Mansoor had made fun of the court as an Attorney General. “The sanctity of the court should not be tarnished,” Justice Isa added.

Justice Bandial told the petitioner judge that Anwar Mansoor had to resign from his post.

"Whosoever talked against judges, action was taken against them,” Justice Bandial remarked, adding that the job of the court was to give verdicts, not sending people to jail.

“We want to move on with the main case; so don’t tell us stories,” Justice Bandial told Justice Isa.

During the course of proceedings, Justice Faez Isa submitted that sending his spouse matter to the FBR was in total violation of the law. He contended his spouse was not party to the case, but a verdict was passed against her. He said that the verdict against his wife and children was given because of him.

Therefore, "I apologise to my wife, daughter and son,” Justice Isa said. He submitted that sending the matter to the FBR was beyond the jurisdiction of the court, adding that Article 184/3 was for protection of fundamental rights.

Hence, “my daughter and son were not legally entitled to the notice, issued by the FBR,” Justice Isa contended.

The main attraction of Justice Isa’s arguments on his review petition in courtroom No 1 was his poetic collection when he recited a verse:

“Ghame Ishq Laiker Jain Kahan;

Aansoonon ki Yahan koi Qeemat Nahin.”

[Where do we go with grief of love;

Tears have no value here]

Continuing his arguments, Justice Faiz Isa said that illegal access to a person's tax records is a criminal offence. He said that Tax Commissioner Zulfiqar Ahmed, due to pressure of the court, acted adding that members of the Supreme Judicial Council acted on mala fide basis and never provided him an opportunity to argue in his defence.

The petitioner judge said the FBR was asked to initiate the process before the issuance of the detailed judgment.

"Even the President did not even bother to reply to my three letters,” Justice Isa contended adding that he did not get a copy of the reference, but it was made available to the media.

Justice Isa said that it was like we could not talk about Imran Khan's family. When Imran Khan was a cricketer, then he was his fan and also got his autograph.

Justice Isa submitted that the country was threatened not from outside but from inside, adding that no one can touch Pakistan from outside.

Justice Bandial asked the petitioner judge to concentrate on pointing out if there was any error made in the judgment review. He told the petitioner that his counsel Munir A Malik had not advanced his arguments on the role of the SJC.

“How can you make arguments regarding the SJC when your counsel did not touch the issue in the main case,” Justice Muneeb Akhtar asked Justice Isa.

Justice Isa, however, replied that one portion of his review petition related to the Presidential Reference while the other related to the SJC. He added that the court had kept the reference alive in its judgment.

The petitioner judge contended that it was up to the court either to agree or disagree with his arguments, but he had the right to give his arguments.

He said that he would give arguments on re-sending the case to the Judicial Council.

"At the moment, you are the petitioner and I am asking questions as a member of the bench. Hence you have to convince us what were the errors in the judgment,” Justice Muneeb Akhtar asked Justice Isa.

Justice Isa contended that no petitioner, including Waheed Dogar, was given an opportunity to present his arguments.

The petitioner alleged that efforts were being made to remove him as a judge of the apex court because he had delivered the judgment in the Faizabad sit-in case.

Referring to the PTI review petition, Justice Isa said that according to the said petition he was not eligible to be a judge of the Supreme Court.

“I am not eligible because I am talking about fundamental rights,” Justice Isa said.

Last year, a 10-member full court, headed by Justice Umer Ata Bandial, had quashed the presidential Reference, filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa for allegedly not disclosing his foreign properties in his wealth returns and halted the proceedings pending in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against the judge as well as the show-cause notice issued to him on July 17, 2019.

Other members of the bench included Justice Maqbool Baqir, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Amin-Uddin Khan.

Seven members of the bench including Justice Umer Ata Bandial, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, however, had referred the matter to the FBR, directing it to initiate tax proceedings against the spouse and children of Justice Isa.

On Thursday, the court adjourned the hearing until Monday.