The federal government on Thursday denied the allegations levelled by former Islamabad High Court judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui against "certain officers of the state", terming them "baseless" and "misleading".
The additional attorney general (AAG) submitted a statement on behalf of the federal government in the Supreme Court, which is hearing an appeal filed by Siddiqui against the opinion of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) as well as the October 11, 2018, notification under which he was removed for his speech on July 21 that year at the District Bar Association, Rawalpindi.
During the hearing of the case on June 8, senior counsel Hamid Khan, representing the former judge, read out his client’s reply in response to the July 31, 2018, show-cause notice by the SJC in which he openly named incumbent Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general and then-DG counter intelligence Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for making visits to him (Siddiqui) to allegedly influence judicial proceedings.
The statement submitted by the AAG noted that Justice Siddiqui's counsel during the June 8 hearing had read a number of paragraphs from the document attached with the petition "which contained allegations about certain officers of the State".
It said the federal government had not filed any reply on the appeal because the apex court was currently hearing arguments on the maintainability of the petition in view of the bar under Article 211 of the Constitution.
"However, as specific allegations about certain officers of the State were made in the petition and read out in court, on instructions it is placed before this [...] court that the allegations made are baseless, misleading and, therefore, denied," the AAG's statement added.
Justice Siddiqui was removed from the high judicial office on the recommendation of the SJC under Article 209 of the Constitution for “displaying a conduct unbecoming of a judge” for his speech at the Rawalpindi bar association.
The former judge had accused certain officers of the ISI of interfering in the judiciary’s affairs. He alleged that the accused “manipulate the formation” of benches in high courts. The ex-judge had also blamed the judiciary for allegedly undermining democratic norms in the country.
While reading out Siddiqui's reply to the show-cause notice on Tuesday, his lawyer Khan said that during his second visit on July 19, 2018, Gen Hameed told Siddiqui that after his June 2018 verdict, he was summoned by the army chief who showed great annoyance and displeasure.
In June 2018, Justice Siddiqui of the IHC had directed the ISI to remove encroachments from a portion of Khayaban-i-Suharwardi in front of the headquarters of the spy agency in Islamabad.
In his statement, Siddiqui claimed that when he asked how they managed the constitution of a bench to hear the appeal against the conviction of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Gen Hameed told him that the then IHC chief justice, Anwar Khan Kasi, was approached in Quetta through a common friend, where he was asked to constitute a division bench which was not headed by Justice Siddiqui. Justice Kasi, according to Siddiqui, told Gen Hameed he "will constitute a bench about which we are comfortable".
Gen Hameed had further said that they wanted an assurance that the bail plea of accused Nawaz Sharif was not taken up before the 2018 general election, Siddiqui's counsel said, adding that they wanted that later the matter be brought before a bench headed by Justice Siddiqui to attach some credence.
"To this, I categorically replied that if from the material, I feel convinced for enhancement of the sentence, I will not hesitate to issue notice for enhancement to the conviction, but if the judgement would not be sustainable in the eyes of law, I will not spoil my hereafter to protect worldly affairs of any," his lawyer quoted Siddiqui as saying.
During Tuesday's hearing, Siddiqui had denied any links with any officer in the army, with his lawyer telling the SC bench that Gen Hameed had allegedly himself visited the judge at the latter's residence.