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Nothing about London properties was hidden: Faez

Updated June 04, 2019

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Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who is facing a reference before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), on Monday wrote another letter to President Dr Arif Alvi, repeating his request for a copy of the reference. — Photo courtesy Supreme Court website
Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who is facing a reference before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), on Monday wrote another letter to President Dr Arif Alvi, repeating his request for a copy of the reference. — Photo courtesy Supreme Court website

ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who is facing a reference before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), on Monday wrote another letter to President Dr Arif Alvi, repeating his request for a copy of the reference.

In the eight-page letter, the Supreme Court judge expressed the confidence that the president will do everything in his power to ensure that all obey the Constitution.

Earlier on May 29, the judge had written a one-page letter to the president, complaining that selective leaks to the media amount to his character assassination, thus jeopardising his right to due process and fair trial.

Read: SC judge writes to Alvi over reference reports

In the fresh letter, which legal observers believe is a kind of a response to allegations being levelled against the judge for keeping three properties in London, Justice Isa said that he might have endured the inquisition tactics employed against him and his family. “But does the matter not suggest something more sinister to undermine the independence of the judiciary?” he asked. The letter went on to say that the judge would not permit this to happen and, as per his constitutional oath, would preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

Judge wonders whether PM has disclosed in his tax returns the properties owned by his wives and children

If the independence of the judiciary is destroyed, the fundamental rights of people enshrined in the Constitution become little more than words on paper, he feared, adding that the sanctity of the Constitution is of paramount concern to him.

Article 5 stipulates that obedience to the Constitution and law is an inviolable obligation of every citizen, the letter recalled, adding that thus a far greater responsibility rests on those who hold the constitutional offices.

The document complained that the judge and his family had been maliciously maligned by half-truths and innuendoes by members of the government, which was deeply distressing.

If the objective is to invade the private lives and create intrigue by violating the privacy, then why is the whole truth withheld, the letter asked, adding that the judge was compelled to disclose facts with a view to exposing false reports.

Justice Isa said the government sleuths surely know that after completing their education, both the children worked in London and details of three properties disseminated by the government people are those in which they live with their spouses. Those in whose names they stand own the properties and no attempt was ever made to conceal their ownership. The properties were never held under trust, nor were a special purpose vehicle or offshore companies ever created, the letter reminded.

Therefore, it contended that the judge was not under any obligation to disclose his finances/financials, but did so voluntarily because doubts have been cast upon his integrity. The letter stated that the judge was fully compliant with the taxation regime of Pakistan and never received any notice in respect of the properties nor with regard to his wife and children.

Once the judge joined the legal profession, he started filling out the requisite returns and paid the applicable income tax. There is no outstanding demand of the income tax department against the judge nor is there any income tax proceedings pending against him.

The letter wondered whether the prime minister had disclosed in all his tax returns the properties owned by his wives and children. If the prime minister did not do so, he had surely not advised the president to submit the reference.

The letter regretted that due process and fair trial and constitutional protection to the judge has been violated even before the council issued any notice.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2019