Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa alleged on Thursday that former chief justice Asif Saeed Khosa had betrayed him and "stabbed" him in the back.

Justice Isa made the remarks during a hearing of the review petitions filed against the June 19, 2020, apex court judgement about the presidential reference against him. Justice Umar Ata Bandial presided over the 10-judge SC bench which conducted the hearing.

"The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has murdered justice," Justice Isa said, adding that President Dr Arif Alvi "did not bother" to reply to three letters of his and that he hadn't even received a copy of the presidential reference filed against him.

He said despite that, noise and voices against him had started on the media and "fifth-generation warfare" was initiated against him and his family.

"Former chief justice Asif Saeed Khosa stabbed me in the back without listening to my stance," Justice Isa remarked. He also said that although retired Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had been his friend, "I was saddened at his decision. He is the government's favourite personality today."

Justice Muneeb Akhtar observed that the two judges were retired and asked Justice Isa to refrain from "making accusations" against them, while Justice Maqbool Baqar asked him to present his arguments in the case.

"Is Faez Isa not a judge of this court? Are the names of [Justice] Azmat Saeed and [Justice] Asif Saeed Khosa too sacred?" Justice Isa asked in response.

The reference filed against Justice Isa by the government in May 2019 alleged that he had 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 his wealth returns. Justice Isa had contested the allegation, saying he was not a beneficial owner of the flats — neither directly nor indirectly.

Justice Isa's wife, Sarina Isa, had said in a letter to the president in November that the reference against Justice Isa was shown to her husband by retired Justice Khosa before forwarding it to the SJC. “My husband told Justice Khosa that the properties were not his and he had no concern with them,” the letter had said.

According to the letter, Justice Khosa had observed, “How then is the reference maintainable?”, but then “something changed” and he decided to convene the SJC, allegedly without taking Justice Isa into confidence.

It said Justice Khosa had repeatedly sent for then-attorney general (AG) Anwar Mansoor Khan, who, after the reference was filed, allegedly asked Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar to provide him Sarina's tax returns.

“The AG and workers of a political party joined hands and Justice Khosa obliged them by asking for the money trail and the source of funds for purchase of the London properties,” the letter stated.

Likewise, Sarina had said in her letter, Justice Azmat Saeed had heard another reference against Justice Isa six working days before his retirement, confident that it would conclude before he retired.

'The FBR has not sent me a notice'

Justice Isa said during today's hearing that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had not sent him a notice to date. He emphasised that his children and wife were not under his care, adding that they had also not been under his sponsorship when they bought the properties in London and "like [Prime Minister] Imran Khan, my wife did not hide her property."

"The Niazi Services case was not sent to the FBR [but] in my case, the court acted with distinction."

Justice Isa further said the total value of his London properties was not equivalent to even "one F-6 plot", referring to a sector in Islamabad.

Justice Isa also hit out at Law Minister Farogh Naseem, saying he had made accusations against him and his wife and that "the respect of the court is not important for him (Naseem) but his ministry is."

"Farogh Naseem came to the rostrum and kept lying," Justice Isa added.

He said the SJC had initiated action against him at a time when he had taken his summer vacation and been affected by personal matters.

"The decision to send the case to the FBR was beyond the jurisdiction of the court. Article 184(3) is for the protection of fundamental rights [and] the order of the FBR notice to my daughter and son does not fall under the category of fundamental rights."

'They want to remove me'

"They want to remove me from the post of a SC judge," said Justice Isa, adding that the reason was his verdict in the 2017 Faizabad sit-in case.

"Doomsday was unleashed upon me after the verdict of Faizabad sit-in case."

He said that apart from Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan chief Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, "everyone else" had submitted review petitions against the judgement, citing the PTI and Muttahida Qaumi Movement — with the former claiming "I am not eligible to be a judge".

"I am not really qualified to be a judge because I am talking about fundamental rights.

"I will fight to the last drop of blood. I will not give up," said Justice Isa.

He also criticised Akbar and said that the adviser had not denied any allegations against himself. Justice Isa said that Akbar should "be in jail yet he is at an important office".

"I don't understand whether we are living in a democracy or in a dictatorship," he said.

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