By Khalid Hussain
Counsel for top court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Monday alleged that reference against his client was a coordinated effort by the intelligence agencies, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Mutahida Qaumi Mahaz (MQM).
Appearing before a 10-member bench of the top court led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial in the matter on behalf of Justice Isa, senior advocate of the Supreme Court Munir A. Malik made formal declarations reposing full faith in the full bench hearing the petition.
“I have never used the words ‘biased’ or ‘selfish’ while objecting to the constitution of the full bench earlier”, he said adding, “we want to dispel the impression that the superior judiciary can ever be compromised.”
He argued the reference against Qazi Isa was malafide and obviously resulted through a coordinated effort by the political parties in the ruling alliance and intelligence agencies that were not happy with his client on his judgement in the Tehreek Labaik Pakistan’s (TLP) Faizabad sit-in suo moto case.
Malik contended the judgement did not sit well with the intelligence agencies who were tasked by the Supreme Court to report on the details of how a serving general of the Army distributed cash among the sit-in participants at Faizabad in 2017.
He said the review petitions filed by MQM, PTI and the MoD against the judgement written by Qazi Isa for the two-member bench of the Supreme Court had many paragraphs that were identical in their wording. This proves there was coordination in filing these review petitions and proves malafide intentions. The same paragraphs were repeated in the President’s Reference to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) which further proves coordinated efforts with dubious intents.
He stressed that his client was being targeted for his bold record as a Supreme Court Judge. Qazi Isa was appointed as a one-man Quetta Commission and his frank observations of institutions working beyond their mandate did not sit well with certain quarters. Similarly, his Judgement with fellow Justice Mushir Alam named a serving Army General who was reported to have distributed cash among the TLP sit-in participants in 2017.
He said the armed forces and the intelligence agencies work as per their jurisdication. Their mandate is derived from the Constitution of Pakistan and if limits are crossed then it compromises the system of checks and balances that keep the state functioning efficiently. He further said the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Military Intelligence (MI) must function within their constitutional jurisdiction. Citing the case of Retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan he said this court has observed that when the armed forces and the intelligence agencies over-step their jurisdiction, they do so in violation of the Constitution.
He said these review petitions and the subsequent Presidential Reference were all a ‘coordinated exercise’. “Even the state of mind is the same”, he stressed.
Earlier in his written reply to the response by Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan, Justice Qazi Faez Isa had informed the Supreme Court that the federal government was resorting to ‘bald-faced lies’ and ‘blatant inventions’ to defame him by accusing he posses “benami” properties abroad although the reference against him contains no such allegations. This has created an environment against the Supreme Court Judge through deception, guile and dominance. It was part of a “witch-hunt” aimed at “silencing judges”, he declared.
The petitioner alleged in his two written rejoinders the government’s team was out to destroy the “independence of the judiciary”. Justice Isa maintained he was not obliged to declare the “income or assets or money trail of his independent wife and children” since Pakistani law did not conflate the identities of different family members.
Qazi Isa explained his daughter and son were married and working in 2013 and had their own private incomes as did his wife who is independently rich working as an analyst at a private equity firm. His daughter was working in a law firm in the UK and her husband was also a working barrister. Similary, his son was an independent contractor besides working with an estate agency.
Munir A. Malik said he was no where near the end of his arguments after two hours of the full bench proceedings.
Later, the bench adjourned hearing of the matter till October 15 (Tuesday).