The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has made it clear that it would by Justice Qazi Faez Isa. The SCBA believes that “the reference was illegal and filed with mala fide intention”. As the SCBA stands by Justice Faez Isa, the battle for the government has become even complex and tough.
A resolution on the matter was adopted during the 22nd meeting of the SCBA’s executive committee on June 6 in Islamabad which was presided over by SCBA President Syed Qalbe Hassan.
#SupremeCourt Bar Association #Pakistan has announced its unequivocal support to Justice Qazi Faez Isa in his case and reiterated not to allow anyone to undermine the strength of lawyers. Secretary Shamim Malik warned Govt to learn lesson from Musharraf dictatorship pic.twitter.com/skE7IjfDLH
— Rana Asadullah Khan (@RanaAsadullahKh) June 9, 2020
The SCBA meeting also said the hearing in the presidential reference against Justice Isa before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) as well as on the petitions before the Supreme Court clearly showed the ill-intention of the government.
Reiterating its solidarity with Justice Isa, the meeting also resolved that the SCBA will safeguard the integrity and the independence of the judiciary and will stand side by side with Justice Isa until the logical conclusion of the matter.
SCBA stands by Justice Faez Isa: Government surprises the Supreme Court?
Dr. Farogh Nasim, legal counsel for the federation, surprised the Supreme Court by presenting a document on the basis of which the entire presidential reference on misconduct was moved against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
When asked, Dr. Nasim conveniently shifted the entire burden on former attorney general Anwar Mansoor, saying it might be the oversight of his office not to place the document on record. He also maintained that he was engaged by the federal government at the eleventh hour therefore he quickly looked at the material pertaining to the case. Notably, Dr. Nasim was serving as a law minister and resigned just two days ago to present the federal government in Justice Faez Isa case.
However, Dawn, Pakistan’s respected daily, reported that when it approached ex-AG Anwar Mansoor for comments, he said he would not make any at this point.
Advocate Malik spent two days only to highlight that this document, if made available, would show the basis on which the entire reference was made, recalled Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, adding that the counsel had made “us learn by heart about the procedure for collecting the property documents from the UK”.
He also recalled that even the former AG was not aware of this document when asked by the court and not even Dr Nasim who was present on some hearing dates. “Certainly, the federal government is at fault,” Justice Shah observed.
Reference against Justice Isa
According to details, a full-court bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed is hearing Justice Isa’s petitions challenging the presidential reference against him.
Justice Isa has questioned the eligibility of SAPM Shahzad Akbar’s appointment as the head of the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) and for public office. Justice Isa has raised some points on what experts believe to be ‘some valid technical grounds’ and maintained that the appointment of the SAPM was illegal.
The Supreme Court inquired about where the ARU received funds from for initiating an investigation in Justice Faez Isa case. The court maintained that there can be no investigation through illegal means to obtain personal information.
As the SCBA stands by Justice Faez Isa, legal experts believe that the court may ask the federal government to explain its position on the matter. “This is not an ordinary matter. The court must look into it,” a lawyer said. It is argued that the SC is likely to ascertain the facts whether the reference has been filed on mala-fide intentions or not.
Notably, the reference filed against Justice Isa alleges that he acquired three properties in London on lease in the name of his wife and children between 2011 and 2015, but did not disclose them in his wealth returns.