ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court on Tuesday insisted that he was fighting for the future of Pakistan as well as the institution of the judiciary.
“We are living in a gutter contrary to what the founding father Quaid-i-Azam had envisioned, but they say as if I will be dusted out at some appropriate juncture,” Justice Isa argued in a high-pitched tone while appearing for the third time before a 10-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial.
At the outset of the hearing on a set of review petitions, Justice Bandial said the court was allowing the petitioner judge to argue the case because his counsel Muneer A. Malik had expressed his inability to appear before the court because of his health.
Justice Isa, whose voice became choked at some point of time, regretted that for the past two years there had been a propaganda campaign by the government-controlled media not only against him but also against his family.
“Please put yourself in my shoes,” he said, adding that though his children and wife were not his dependent, they had been stigmatised. “How would you feel if your wife and children are treated in the same fashion,” he said and requested the court to give him some latitude.
“I apologise if you are getting bored,” Justice Isa said when Justice Bandial told him that the cases he was citing pertained to the hearing in open court which “we are already doing” and suggested that he should argue the application he had filed for live telecast of the court proceedings.
“Why are we reluctant? Because we belong to the same institution and for the sake of the integrity and solidarity we must refrain from making comments. Already Allah Almighty has rewarded you since despite odds, a huge number of people are in your favour,” Justice Bandial observed.
“We are not happy to see our sister and daughter sitting in the courtroom,” he said while pointing towards Justice Isa’s wife Sarina and daughter Sehar.
Justice Isa contended that renowned journalists were being picked up with impunity while other journalists were beaten up and stabbed, but Prime Minister Imran Khan said he had no information and nobody moved any petition in this regard. “Shame on the government of Pakistan; we have put the future of this country at stake,” he regretted.
Referring to the dismemberment of East Pakistan, Justice Isa said his heart had bled when 90,000 soldiers surrendered before Indians and national security issue was cooked up whenever someone tried to quote from Hamoodur Rehman report.
Justice Bandial observed that the court also sympathised with journalists, but it could not transgress out of its jurisdiction unless somebody moved a petition in this regard.
Justice Manzoor Malik advised Justice Isa not to get emotional, otherwise he would lose focus. “I am getting emotional not for my sake but for Pakistan,” Justice Isa said. He emphasised that his office or his salary did not matter but what mattered was that he had lost the public opinion, regretting that he would carry stigma to his grave. Being a judge, he said, he could not hold a press conference or respond to clear his name and, therefore, he felt like suffocated. Justice Isa argued that Prime Minister Khan or President Dr Arif Alvi, Law Minister Farogh Naseem or Minister for Science Fawad Chaudhry could speak in their private capacity, but he could not.
Regretting that his name had been tainted, Justice Isa said this was the kind of environment “we are creating for the judiciary”. Only full glare of public hearing would enable the people to know that justice was being served impartially by a 10-judge bench, he said.
When Justice Bandial asked Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Aamir Rehman whether the federation had made up its mind as to who would represent it, the latter said he still had no instructions in this regard.
At this, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali observed that 10 judges of the Supreme Court had assembled and the federation had no idea who would represent it. “This looks odd.”
When Justice Isa informed the court that some journalists had offered their services for the live telecast, Justice Bandial observed that the state had the resources to make arrangements if the court made up its mind.
Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2021