'The sword is still hanging': Legal fraternity reacts to SC's decision to quash reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa
The Supreme Court on Friday accepted Justice Qazi Faez Isa's petitions challenging the filing of a presidential reference against him.
The top court threw out the presidential reference, terming it "invalid" and also withdrew the show cause notice issued to Justice Isa last year by the Supreme Judicial Council.
“[The reference] is declared to be of no legal effect whatsoever and stands quashed,” read the judgement.
However, while most hailed the decision a landmark judgement, some expressed reservations, saying that the matter may be far from over.
President of the Supreme Court Bar Association Hafiz Abdur Rehman Ansari, in a statement, "highly appreciated" the top court's verdict and commended it for "its courageous demonstration guarding its independence [and] thus upholding the prime objective of the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution".
Vice chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Abid Saqi said that the SC verdict had "frustrated the nefarious and ill-motivated move of the government to subdue and pressurise the independent judiciary".
The PBC also announced that all bar members will observe Youm-e-Tashakkur (day of gratefulness) on June 22. They will also celebrate what the council termed a "landmark judgement and the victory of the cause of the rule of law, the constitutionalism and independence of the judiciary".
Zahid F. Ebrahim, an advocate of the Supreme Court, said that while the court had "slashed he malicious hand attempting assault on its independence", it had also showed that it was open to financial accountability.
Reema Omer, a legal advisor for the International Commission of Jurists said that the case "was still not over". She added that the detailed judgement "should clarify why presidential reference didn’t meet this criteria [for genuine and bonafide grievances]".
Dr Osama Siddique, executive director of the Law and Policy Research Network, questioned the SC's decision.
"Why can SJC come into play again? Surely this is a matter now that pertains only to the wife. Can something else be discovered, uncovered or concocted that the FBR takes back to the SC/SJC so that J. Isa can be pulled back in again. In which case the sword is still hanging."
Lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir said that the end of ill intent was always failure.
Lawyer Taimur Malik said that it didn't seem as though the matter was over, adding that it would be better if the government and the judiciary went back to focusing on "other important work".