ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Thursday hurled startling allegations regarding proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on the presidential reference filed against him, which was rejected by the apex court in June last year.

Justice Isa, a sitting judge of the top court, alleged that his colleagues had betrayed him and went to the extent of declaring that former chief justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa had “stabbed him in the back”.

He was making submissions before the 10-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial during hearing of review petitions filed against the court’s June 19, 2020 judgement on the presidential reference in which the court had empowered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct an inquiry into offshore assets of his spouse.

“The Supreme Judicial Council murdered justice,” Justice Isa alleged, adding that President Dr Arif Alvi “did not bother” to respond to his three letters. He also pointed out that he did not even receive a copy of the presidential reference that was filed against him.

He criticised former Chief Justice Khosa for “not listening to his point of view” and said although retired Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had been his friend, he was pained by his decision on the petition he had filed against the presidential reference.

Observing that the two judges mentioned had retired, Justice Muneeb Akhtar asked Justice Isa to refrain from “making accusations” against them. Justice Maqbool Baqar, on the other hand, asked him to present his arguments in the case.

The reference filed against Justice Isa by the government 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 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 presidential reference was shown to her husband by retired Justice Khosa before forwarding it to the SJC.

Justice Isa claimed the government wanted to remove him from his post because of his judgement in the Faizabad sit-in case. In the said verdict the embattled judge had accused the security apparatus and intelligence agencies of acting in excess of their mandate.

According to the judge, except for then chief of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan everyone had filed a review petition on the said judgement.

During the proceedings on Thursday, Justice Isa said the FBR had not sent him any notice to date.

He said his children and wife were not under his care, and they had also not been under his sponsorship when they bought the properties in London. The total value of the London properties was not equivalent to even a single plot of land in Islamabad’s F-6 Sector.

He appealed to the court to hear the instant case in the mornings so that it could wrap up the case early because Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, who is part of the bench, is going to retire soon.

Proceedings in the case were adjourned till Monday.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2021

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