Asset Recovery Unit’s rules contradict SJC, court told in Justice Isa case | Pakistan Today

Asset Recovery Unit’s rules contradict SJC, court told in Justice Isa case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s petition, challenging the presidential reference, filed against him over alleged non-disclosure of assets in his wealth statement till Monday.

A ten-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, heard the case regarding proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

The reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa alleges that he 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 wealth returns.

During the course of proceedings, counsel for Sindh High Court Bar Association Raza Rabbani presented notification regarding the establishment of the Asset Recovery Unit. He said that the Asset Recovery Unit’s duty was to collect material and to conduct an inquiry.

He said that the Asset Recovery Unit was authorized to seek assistance from intelligence agencies. The FBR and FIA’s support was also provided to the Asset Recovery Unit, he added.

He said the Asset Recovery Unit was also authorized to deal with issues of all citizens, including judges. He said that Asset Recovery Unit’s Rules were in contradiction with Article 209. The Asset Recovery Unit conducted inquiries against judges under its rules, he added.

Raza Rabbani said that the Asset Recovery Unit informed the law minister that there was no evidence, which had been attached to the complaint against the judge.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked who gave the Asset Recovery Unit the authority to investigate against Justice Faez Isa?  He asked which law determined the powers of the special assistant.

Justice Maqbool Baqar asked can the prime minister delegate its powers to the special assistant?

Raza Rabbani responded that nothing can be said about delegating the powers of the prime minister.

After completion of Raza Rabbani’s arguments, Advocate Rasheed A Rizvi, counsel representing Karachi Bar Association, started his arguments and stated that if the legal requirements for the investigation were not met, then it could not be processed.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said that if the illegally gathered evidence was accepted, then it would open the door forever.