–Justice Isa’s counsel questions credibility of applicant, calls him ‘fake appellant’
ISLAMABAD: A counsel representing Supreme Court (SC) Justice Qazi Faez Isa – facing a presidential reference for allegedly concealing assets — in the case told the apex court on Tuesday that the information regarding properties owned by Justice Isa’s family in the United Kingdom was obtained through “illegal means”.
A 10-member larger bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, is hearing several constitutional pleas filed against the misconduct reference on a daily basis.
During the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel Munir A Malik said the so-called evidence was collected through “surveillance and means without the approval of the lawful authority”, as he questioned the credibility of Waheed Dogar—the complainant who had first written to the government’s Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) over alleged foreign assets.
Following Dogar’s application, the misconduct reference was filed against the top court judge at the Supreme Judicial Council.
The counsel questioned how the complainant was able to retrieve information from the United Kingdom Land Registry. “Information can only be retrieved online when the address of the property is available,” he explained.
Justice Isa’s counsel said the information was gathered by “stalking the petitioner and his family”, arguing that Dogar seemed to be a “fake appellant”.
Questioning the initiation of proceedings against the SC judge, Advocate Muneer Malik asked how the government could launch legal proceedings against a judge on the basis of the complaint filed by Dogar.
He argued that there are “certain safeguards” in the law regarding investigations against judges.
“The complaints were received, evidence was collected and references were filed each at different times,” Malik noted.
“Do you mean to say that the investigation against the judge was initiated without due process?” Justice Maqbool Baqar asked.
Malik told the SC that the application to start proceedings against Justice Isa was written in April, right after the Faizabad verdict that was penned by the said judge.
“The letter written by Dogar does not have a phone number or address and does not mention any property that belongs to Justice Qazi Faez Isa,” Advocate Malik pointed out.
“What is the Asset Recovery Unit and why is it in the Prime Minister Secretariat?” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, also part of the bench, asked.
“Can you tell the court about the legal status of the Assets Recovery Unit?” Justice Baqar inquired. Malik only offered that “there is no civil servant in the ARU”.
Also, Justice Bandial asked if Justice Isa had ever given money to his wife as a gift. “I can let you know after confirming this,” Malik said.
“We will have the answer to that question,” Justice Bandial said.
The court subsequently issued notices to the respondents of the fresh constitutional petitions filed against the Supreme Judicial Council’s proceedings in the matter. The hearing was adjourned till Wednesday.