The Supreme Court Bar Association and other litigants on Tuesday submitted a plea seeking the deferment of a hearing of petitions filed against a judicial reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa which had earlier been scheduled by the Supreme Court for October 28.
The 16 petitioners — including the Sindh Bar Association and Balochistan Bar Association — have contended that a protest sit-in is likely in Islamabad on the aforementioned date and also pointed out that the Supreme Court Bar Association will be holding elections on October 29 and 30, which will keep some litigants and their counsels busy.
They said that the "conditions for movement" in Islamabad would not be suitable on October 28 due to the expected sit-in. They have pleaded the court to fix a future date for hearing of the case.
Earlier on Monday, the apex court had re-fixed the hearing of challenges to the filing of the presidential reference against Justice Isa on Oct 28. The decision came after his counsel was initially informed by the larger bench hearing the petitions that they would request the chief justice for the reconstitution of a full court due to the unavailability of one of the judges.
The decision to continue with the hearing from next week was taken when the 10-judge full court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, was informed that Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, who was unavailable for hearing on Monday, would be able to resume his duty next Monday.
If the matter had been sent back to Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, this would have been the second such referral in the past five weeks for the reconstitution of the full court.
The reference filed against Justice Isa alleges that he acquired three properties in London on lease in the name of his wife and children between 2011 and 2015, but did not disclose them in wealth returns. Justice Isa has contested that claim, saying he is not a beneficial owner of the flats — neither direct nor indirect.
Correction: An earlier version of the story had erroneously named Justice Qazi Faez Isa as one of the petitioners to the Supreme Court. The error is regretted.