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ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Amanullah Kanrani on Saturday called for impeachment of President Dr Arif Alvi for instituting a reference allegedly with mala fide intent against a Supreme Court judge who commands respect for his unblemished record.

“After the filing of the reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the president has rendered himself ineligible to occupy the highest office of the country,” Mr Kanrani alleged while talking to media at the Supreme Court building.

By moving the reference, the government had not done any service to the nation rather it had scandalised the judge by bringing him into disrepute, he said, adding that to show solidarity with Justice Isa, lawyers would observe a black day on June 14 — a day when the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) is scheduled to take up references against Justice Isa and Justice K.K. Agha of the Sindh High Court.

Mr Kanrani asked the presidents and members of all bar councils and high court and district bar associations, including the Islamabad Bar Association, to gather at the Supreme Court building when the SJC would take up the references. They should come while wearing black armbands to express resentment over the filing of the references, he said.

All members of the 23-member SCBA would gather at the apex court premises on June 14, he said, adding that the entire nation stood firmly with Justice Isa.

Members of all lawyers’ bodies asked to gather at Supreme Court on June 14 when SJC will take up case against Justice Isa

He recalled that the family of Justice Isa, who had been accused of misconduct in the reference, was among the benefactors of Pakistan and had rendered sacrifices in the making of the country.

Mr Kanrani said that only those judges should sit in the SJC who first came out with a declaration through affidavits that they were clean in all aspects.

He said the reference against Justice Isa was filed only to create chaos in society and therefore either the government should withdraw the reference before June 14 or the SJC should drop the proceedings against the judge on that day. “In case of proceedings of the council against the judge, we will launch a campaign like the 2007 lawyers movement,” the SCBA president warned.

Reference against Justice Agha

The reference moved against Justice K.K. Agha accuses him of jointly purchasing a property — No 17 Calvert Close, Belvedere, Kent, UK (DA 17 6EU) on Nov 24, 2005, but not declaring the same in his wealth statements until tax year 2018 when it was declared with a zero value.

An informed source who had seen the reference told Dawn that Justice Agha had also been accused of owning offshore property No 40 Kerwaya Close Datfar, in UK, which was declared in his wealth statement for tax year 2018 at zero value. Likewise the judge also declared his offshore bank account at Loyds Bank, UK, in his wealth statement for 2018 again at zero value.

According to the source, the chairman of the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) received a complaint from one Abdul Waheed Dogar on April 10, 2019 which said that Justice Agha and two other judges owned properties abroad.

The ARU obtained certified true official copies of the land registry in respect of one property acquired by Justice Agha in 2005. These documents were duly notarised by as notary public in London and duly attested by the High Commission for Pakistan at London.

Likewise the observation recorded by the assistant commissioner in his letter of May 10, 2019 addressed to the commissioner, International Taxes Zone, Large Taxpayers’ Unit, Islamabad, said apparently the judge maintained two different names, one in the computerised national identity card and the other in the passport.

Article II of the Code of Conduct for judges requires judges to be blameless and states that judges should keep their conduct in all things, official and private, free from impropriety.

A judge of the superior court who failed to declare his expensive London properties before the tax year 2018, and then failed to reconcile his wealth and mention the cost of acquisition and present values of the said properties, violated section 116 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, the source said.

The tax records of the judge were absolutely silent about the source through which these properties had been acquired and how and from where the funds were made available to purchase the properties without violating the money laundering regime and the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947, the source said.

These alleged mis-declarations seemed glaring, the source said, adding that the judge had failed to reconcile his health and give an honest and accurate valuation of his total wealth and thus committed gross misconduct and was therefore liable to be removed upon the recommendations of the SJC.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2019