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CJP forms full bench to hear Justice Faez Isa’s review petition

Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed has formed a full bench of the Supreme Court to hear the review petition against the judgment in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa case.

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Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed has formed a full bench of the Supreme Court to hear the review petition against the judgement in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa case. Justice Isa, his wife Sarina Isa and members of bar councils had challenged the hearing of the review petition by a six-member bench. They had said that a larger bench should hear the case.

The Supreme Court judge and his wife had challenged the apex court’s order on the presidential reference seeking the removal of Justice Isa for failing to disclose foreign properties of his family members.

In June 2020, the top court quashed the reference and declared the show-cause notice issued to the judge by the Supreme Judicial Council null and void.

The court, however, ordered the FBR to issue appropriate notices to the judge’s family and children under the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

Three judges, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Yahya Afridi, wrote dissenting notes in the case. The full bench led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial will hear the review petition on March 1.

The judges who wrote dissenting notes will also be a part of the full bench, while Justice Faisal Arab has been replaced by Justice Aminuddin Khan.

The case

On June 2, 2019 the government confirmed that a presidential reference had been filed in the Supreme Judicial Council against the judge for owning foreign assets. Justice Isa has been accused of misconduct over failure to declare his wife and children’s UK properties. According to the judge, his wife and children have on their names three properties in the W2, E10, and E11 areas of London.

Justice Isa challenged the reference in the top court. He asked that the reference should be quashed and PM’s Assets Recovery Unit be termed null and void. He even asked for action to be taken against Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar.

Sarina Isa, the wife of Justice Isa, revealed on Thursday the details of her London properties to the Supreme Court while recording her statement via a video link. She even submitted her money trail, tax records, bank documents, and property papers to the court.

She revealed that she bought one property for £23,600 in 2004, another for £270,000, which is under her and her daughter’s name, and the third one for £245,000 in 2013. Her son lives in one of the properties and has put the other two on rent.

Read More: SC issues notice to Maulvi Iftikhar who said “Justice Isa should be shot publicly”

Justice Isa, who is in line to become the chief justice of Pakistan, has accused in a petition the PTI government of spying on him to discover his family’s properties.

Remove PM Khan from the office, demands Justice Faez Isa’s wife

Sarina Isa filed a petition to get Prime Minister Imran Khan removed from the office over the alleged non-disclosure of assets and tax cheat.

She submitted a long list of charges — (i) he is a tax cheat, (ii) did not disclose his three children’s assets when they were minors in his returns, (iii) illegally accessed and obtained the petitioner’s legally protected records maintained by the FBR, NADRA, FIA and SBP and more — to justify her plea for the disqualification of the prime minister.

Justice Isa’s wife has raised questions over the money trail provided by the prime minister regarding purchase of land at Bani Gala, noting he “is judged by a different yardstick by the apex court”. She stated that the June 19 judgment “is contrary to the apex court’s judgment in Imran Khan’s disqualification case.

“Comparing Mr Imran Khan’s documents with the petitioner’s regarding their respective properties, there is a great difference, a chalk and cheese difference.

“The petitioner produced verifiable documents, including her own bank documents. Mr Imran Khan spun a tale: his divorced wife (Ms Jemima Goldsmith) sent him money to buy properties in Pakistan but did not send it into his bank account but through a convenient intermediary (Mr Rashid Khan),” she stated in her submission.

It is important to note that Justice Faez Isa family is facing a case of tax evasion. The judge himself is accused of an alleged misconduct by the incumbent government.

A 10-judge full court on June 19, 2020 quashed the presidential reference that sought Justice Isa’s removal in view of his failure to mention his family members’ London properties in his wealth statement.

Read More: FBR humiliated my wife, Justice Faez Isa tells SC

The top court declared in October that the presidential reference filed against Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa is “tainted with mala fide in law”, while making strong comments against the president, the federal minister for law and the former attorney general for Pakistan (AGP).

“Although the preparation and framing of the reference against the petitioner [Justice Isa] is not patently motivated with malice in fact, the scale and degree of the illegalities are such that the reference is deemed to be tainted with mala fide in law.”

“For this reason, the reference is hereby quashed,” said the 173-page detailed judgment authored by future Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and endorsed by six more judges.