Friday, March 5, 2021

Who released Supreme Court’s latest order to media? Justice Faez Isa raises questions

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Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court has expressed shock at the release of February 11 order to the media in violation of a settled practice. In a letter addressed to the Supreme Court registrar on February 12, Justice Isa said that he was yet to receive the order in which he was asked not to hear cases involving Prime Minister of Pakistan.

“I have learnt that an order/judgment (don’t know which one) was passed and released to the media. This is shocking, as yet, I have not received the file with the order/judgment,” Justice Isa said. “It is a settled practice that after the judge heading the bench writers the order/judgment, it is set to the next senior judge,” he said.

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

The judge asked the secretary to explain why the judgment wasn’t sent to him and why it was released to media before received it and who ordered it release to the media.

Court’s order

The order issued by the court has suggested Faez Isa J. not to hear the cases concerning the premier: “The Hon. Chief Justice of Pakistan, therefore, observed that in these circumstances it would not be proper for the Hon. Judge to hear the matter considering that he had already filed a petition against the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in his personal capacity. Therefore, to uphold the principle of un-biasness and impartiality, it would be in the interest of justice that the Hon. Judge should not hear matters involving the Prime Minister of Pakistan,” the order states.

Recently, a two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Maqbool Baqir heard a case pertaining to local bodies elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Justice Faez Isa said that a referendum could be held with the journalists present in the courtroom to determine the state of freedom of media in Pakistan. The judge asked the journalists who think that media is free in Pakistan should raise their hands. No reporter in the court raised a hand on this. Justice Faez Isa then asked that those who think the media is not free to raise their hands to which all the journalists present in the courtroom raised their hands.

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

Sarina Isa, the wife of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, has 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.

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

“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.

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.

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