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Friday, April 12, 2024

Did FIA & FBR share confidential info without authorization in Qazi Isa Case?

The legal counsel for Justice Isa has maintained that confidential information shared by the FIA and FBR exposes the reality of the case; attempts are being made to control the judges of the top court.

During the hearing of a case concerning a reference against the Supreme Court’s Judge, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the senior counsel, Advocate Muneer A. Malik, established before the court that information acquired to file a reference against his client the complainant used illegal means.

Mr. Malik maintained that the confidential information related to property had been fed to the complainant without the approval of the lawful authority. The point the senior lawyer wanted to make was that there were mala fide intentions of the government to target a senior judge of the top court.

Advocate Muneer A. Malik further said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) shared the confidential UK property information with Abdul Waheed Dogar on whose complaint investigation against the SC judge commenced. “The information regarding three properties in the United Kingdom was acquired through surveillance during the interregnum period between the Feb 6 announcement of Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan-dharna verdict and the filing of the complaint,” the counsel emphasized.

Advocate Malik reminded the court that Mr. Dogar had furnished a complaint before the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) highlighting that being a law-abiding citizen and an investigative journalist, he believed in the accountability of all, including judges, and that he had been able to acquire information regarding properties of three superior court judges namely Justice Isa, Sindh High Court judge K.K. Agha and former Lahore High Court judge Furrukh Irfan.

Read more: Is Justice Qazi Faez Isa the real owner of three properties in UK?

The counsel said in the case against former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, the then president had authorised filing of the reference, but Mr Dogar was not even a civil servant to be shared with confidential information.

It is worth noting that the federal government has alleged that Justice Isa was the ‘ostensible owner’ of three properties in the United Kingdom as his family members purchased the assets at a time when they had no independent source of income. The government in its response lamented over the behavior of Justice Isa who instead of addressing the questions raised in the reference started vilifying the complainant.

Justice Isa’s Strong Judgment

Justice Isa was said to have faced ‘consequences’ after he delivered a strong-worded verdict in the Faizabad sit-in case. The judgment authored by Justice Isa drew some broad and important conclusions. For example, the court has directed the federal and provincial governments to monitor and prosecute those advocating hate, extremism, and terrorism. It also ordered the government ─ through the defense ministry and respective chiefs of the armed forces ─ to initiate action against armed forces’ personnel found to have violated their oath.

The judgment further states that any person who issues an edict or fatwa that “harms another or puts another in harm’s way must be criminally prosecuted under the Pakistan Penal Code, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, and/or the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.”

Finally, the judgment states that Inter-Services Intelligence, the Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence and the Inter-Services Public Relations “must not exceed their respective mandates”. It also reinforced the idea of freedom of speech which, the court said, is also subject to the law.

Read More: Justice Qazi Isa wants explanation; slams Govt. for ‘character assassination’

Many in Pakistan believe that he is now being targeted for his judgment which also made PTI a part of it and slammed it for using religion card to target the then-government of PML-N. The top court has to determine whether such speculation holds some ground or not. If yes, the apex court is expected to provide more constitutional security to its judges so that they may pronounce more firm and strong judgments.