ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday a petition seeking review of its June 19 majority order in the Justice Faez Isa case in the largest interest of justice, equity and good conscience.

The review petition was filed through senior counsel Rashid A. Razvi on behalf of PFUJ secretary general Nasir Zaidi, requesting the court to recall paragraphs three to 11 of the short order requiring verification by the tax authorities of three offshore properties in the name of the wife and children of Justice Isa.

The petition argued that the government had recently terminated the services of the FBR chairperson and appointed a new chairperson to allegedly manipulate and adversely influence the investigation being carried out by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on the SC order. This act on the part of the government is merely a ploy to subvert and adversely influence the investigation being carried out by the FBR, according to the petition. The cosmetic changes in the FBR at this critical time when the apex court had referred the matter to the FBR for investigation was an outcome of a joint and systematic attempt being made by certain visible, and certain invisible quarters to subjugate and permanently fetter the independence of the judiciary side by side manipulate and adversely influence the investigation, the petition said while highlighting the need for reviewing the short order.

The petition contended that paragraphs three to 11 provided timeline/deadlines to the income tax authorities with regard to the proceedings against Justice Isa’s wife and children. It said this was clearly illegal as the Income Tax Ordinance and other related laws had no provision for such timelines or deadlines for holding the proceedings under Section 116 of the ITO. Hence, the timeline/deadlines mentioned therein were without any basis or sanctity in law and ought to be set aside, the petition argued.

The petition also recalled that the June 19 short order had quashed the presidential reference against Justice Isa and held the proceedings before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) as having abated. Therefore, it said, the SJC had become functus officio for the purpose of this case and could not take notice of any future report against the judge.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2020

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