• Recalls fate of elected rulers who were ‘dismissed or disqualified’
• Bhoon criticises political parties for accepting only favourable verdicts
LAHORE: Senior puisne judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, on Saturday asked people to condemn individual characters by name for their unconstitutional actions instead of the institutions they belong to.
“We judge, but you all judge us. I would only request that you do not judge us as an institution because there is both good and bad. Judge us as judges,” Justice Isa said while addressing the opening session, ‘Constitutionalism and the role of intuitions’, of the annual Asma Jahangir Conference.
The senior judge said, “Condemn a judge not the Supreme Court, condemn a military general not the institution of armed forces and condemn a bureaucrat not the executive if they violate the Constitution.”
“You remove democracy from Pakistan, you stab it in its back, and you are the enemy of the people and the state,” he maintained.
He said the doctrine of trichotomy of power between the legislature, executive and the judiciary was also enshrined in the Constitution, adding the armed forces was not an institution — as is the common perception — but a part of the executive branch.
Justice Isa regretted that when constitutionalism and democracy were taken away from Pakistan, its eastern heart decided to part ways with it and became Bangladesh.
Recalling the fate of civilian-elected rulers, Justice Isa lamented that the first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated, Khawaja Nazimuddin from Dhaka was dismissed by a bureaucrat and Z.A. Bhutto was ordered to be hanged on the orders of the Supreme Court.
In another attack on the Constitution, he said, former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf abrogated the document and many from the judiciary endorsed the illegitimate rule in the country.
Without naming Yousaf Raza Gillani, Justice Isa said a former prime minister was removed by the judiciary in a first such attempt under the contempt of court law.
In an obvious reference to the ouster of Nawaz Sharif, the senior judge said another prime minister was removed from office for non-disclosure of income from his son that he never received.
He read the operative sentence from the Supreme Court’s judgement in Nawaz’s case without commenting on it. He expressed his wonder over formation of joint investigation teams (JITs) in every other case, especially political, whereas the provision of such a team was available in the anti-terrorism law only.
Justice Isa expressed pleasure over Pakistan’s exit from the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force. He then shared his black, grey and white lists for characters from the judiciary and the armed forces.
Starting from his own institution, he put judges like Munir, Anwarul Haq and Irshad Hassan Khan in the ‘black list’, while judges Constantine and Vellani were in the ‘white list’.
He also placed generals Ayub, Zia and Musharraf in the ‘black list’ and held Gen Ayub responsible for introducing ‘politics of plots’ in the country.
He then referred to his letter to the then chief justice asking about the legal backing behind the policy of securing plots on nominal price by judges.
Earlier, Supreme Court Bar Association President Ahsan Bhoon said encroachment by state institutions on the Constitution brought crises to the country. He criticised political parties for accepting only favourable verdicts of courts.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2022