ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court of Pakistan that his wife is willing to explain through video link about three properties acquired in the United Kingdom (UK).
A ten-member full court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial resumed hearing on a set of petitions challenging a presidential reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa for allegedly not disclosing his foreign properties in his wealth returns.
Justice Isa appeared before the court in person and opposed the suggestion given by the court the other day to the federal government to refer the matter of foreign assets of his family members to the Federal Board of Revenue, providing an opportunity to the spouse of the judge to explain about the sources for purchasing the London properties. Justice Isa, while opposing the proposal of the apex court, prayed for deciding the case on merit.
Justice Bandial directed Munir A Malik who was on video link from the Karachi Registry to ask the spouse of the judge to submit her explanation with all documentary evidence in writing.
Malik submitted that he has taken the instant case not because it relates to a judge of the apex court but he took the decision to protect the integrity and independence of judiciary. He submitted that it would be in the interest of justice that the instant case be decided on merit.
Justice Isa, however, said the government has consented to the court’s proposal and he has to give his reply. He submitted that the counsel for the federation is repeatedly asking for money trail. The judge said the council did not summon him for hearing him while the government submitted the replies very late. He submitted that his spouse wants to explain before the full court about her properties and its sources via video link as her father is a cancer patient and she should be given an opportunity to explain about the properties.
Justice Isa contended that his spouse is not a lawyer and not in a position to submit a written response and should be heard. She could reply to all the questions. “Justice not only be done but seems to be done,” Justice Isa submitted.
“You have interrupted court proceedings and it would have been better if you had submitted your formulations through your lawyer,” Justice Bandial asked Justice Isa. “You have brought the message of your spouse but your spouse message will not affect our schedule”, Justice Bandial told the judge.
Earlier, continuing his arguments, federal counsel Farogh Naseem rejected the allegation that the reference was filed on mala fide intentions and argued that if malice is established, the Supreme Judicial Council can make an observation in this regard. Differentiating between the presidential reference filed against former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry as well as the present one against Justice Isa, Farogh Naseem contended that Iftikhar Chaudhry’s case is not applicable to the present case as he said that in Iftikhar Chaudhry’s case, there was an issue of manhandling and the point of malice was clear in his case as he was first summoned by a general and then was made dysfunctional along with other judges besides confining them at their respective houses.
Justice Maqbool Baqir, another member of the bench, told the federation counsel that in the present case of Justice Isa, violations of severe nature have been made more than the violations made in Justice Chaudhry’s case.
The judge said they are putting questions to the federal counsel and the only reason for this is that they want to understand and clear some confusions as well as addressing the reservations raised by the petitioners in the instant reference.
“We are not against a person or any institution but with rule of law and constitution and we should render sacrifice for the protection of law and constitution” Justice Baqir remarked
The judge recalled that in Iftikhar Chaudhry’s case, the Supreme Judicial Council was summoned before the filing of a presidential reference and later on peers (judges) of the council were brought in by plane. He said that in Iftikhar Chaudhry’s case no show cause notice was issued and the then army general had summoned him and later he was manhandled, adding that in that case, the point of malice was quite clear but here is no slight point of malice as well.
If a material comes, the case can be proceeded under Article 184(3) of the constitution, Farogh submitted. He recalled that the court in the Shah Rukh Jatoi case proceeded on an application filed by the third party.
Justice Yahya Afridi asked as to whether the council can quash the presidential reference without conducting an inquiry into the information provided by the president? Later, the court adjourned the hearing until today (Thursday).