ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court on Friday dec­ided to issue notice to the former head of Inter-Ser­vices Intelligence, retired Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, former Islamabad High Court chief justice Muhammad Anwar Kansi and others in a case relating to the removal of former high court judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.

The court, however, chose not to issue the not­ice to former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa though Mr Siddiqui had also named him in his petition. The court noted that Mr Siddiqui had not levelled any direct allegations agai­nst the former army chief.

Other individuals named as respondents include retired Brigadier Irfan Ramay and SC’s former registrar Arbab Muhammad Arif.

The notices will be issued only after the petitioners furnished amended petitions mentioning specific allegations against the individuals cited as fresh respondents in the case.

“Upon receipt of the amended petitions the court office will then issue notices,” said an order dictated by a five-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa.

The amended petitions will be filed by Mr Siddiqui through his counsel Hamid Khan, and Salahuddin Ahmed on behalf of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association and Karachi Bar Council within a week after which the case will be fixed for hearing next month.

“Since serious allegations have been levelled against the individuals, therefore it is not appropriate to proceed further without their response and hearing them,” said the order. “Let notices be issued when the petitioners filed their amended petitions along with paper books with respective add­resses of the respondents.”

During the hearing, the CJP asked whether the allegations levelled by the petitioners were correct. When he was informed that they were correct, the CJP wondered when the petition had been filed by invoking Article 184(3) of the Constitution and when allegations of manipulating the 2018 elections had been levelled, then who was the real beneficiary of all this.

No general has claimed that the purpose of manipulating the elections was to become the prime minister himself, the CJP observed, adding that in fact they were acting as a facilitator to benefit someone and to damage the other.

If the allegations are proven right then the consequences that flow may encompass many for violating the Constitution, he noted.

Aim of interference

Hamid Khan, however, contended that the purpose of the interference was to obtain the results they desired. The question of the beneficiary will arise when the response of the respondents comes.

The court will take notice to reach the logical end since the allegations of manipulation was an attack on the Constitution, democracy and the judiciary, the CJP regretted.

He asked the counsel whether the armed forces are an independent institution and who heads the institution or it is a rogue entity.

Mr Salahuddin agreed that when the process of inquiry commences then the consequences must flow, but requested the court that everything should be done step by step.

The counsel conceded that manoeuvering was done by certain officers to keep PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif out of the election arena and to benefit his opponents.

The CJP observed that it was not a matter of any privilege of Mr Siddiqui since he was larger than these benefits.

Mr Salahuddin pointed out that there was also a possibility that all this was done without the knowledge of the perceived beneficiary, but this could be proved only after conducting an inquiry. He said that’s why he had requested for a probe into the allegations.

The truth must come out and the guilty party must be punished, the counsel emphasised. Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel observed that the court was trying to know why court had been used.

CJP Isa observed that serious allegations had been levelled which may have serious ramifications. “We will not allow anyone to abuse the courts,” observed the CJP, adding “we will have the right to suspect the intentions of the petitioners if we don’t get proper response”.

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2023

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