- Will anyone resign after the court’s strictures?
The courtiers around Prime Minister Imran Khan are willing do anything for him irrespective of its legality. The President continues to abjectly sign on the dotted line of any order emanating from the PM’s office without giving it a second thought. The reasons given by the Supreme Court for overturning the reference against Mr Justice Qazi Faiz Isa should be embarrassing for the PTI government. The Supreme Court pointed out the scale and degree of the illegalities in the reference that led to its dismissal. The PTI sacrificed one Attorney General in the case; the second one would not touch it with a bargepole. The Law Minister had to resign from his office to plead the case himself, only to lose it.
The way the case was prepared underlines two things: the abysmal incompetence of the PTI’s legal team and its cynical disregard for the law while collecting the evidence. Three key players of the PTI have consequently received damaging remarks in the judgment. The President, it is maintained, failed to form a considered opinion by not receiving advice from a third party on the questions of law in the reference. The President Instead relied on the inadmissible advice from the architects of the reference, Law Minster Farogh Naseem and ARU chief Mirza Shahzad Akbar.
Mr Justice Yahya Afridi’s dissenting note focuses on the role of both the Law Minister and the ARU chairman. According to the judgment, the direction of the Law Minister and the ARU chairman to solicit and obtain confidential information regarding the income tax returns of Justice Isa and Mrs Sarina Isa, prima facie, exposes them to criminal prosecution. The judge has directed the incumbent FBR chairman to ensure that the entire record of the present case is placed before the FBR “to proceed under the law, against the law minister, the ARU chairman, the then FBR chairman and all the concerned income tax officers for their role in ordering to disclose confidential information relating to the income tax returns of Justice Isa and Mrs Isa.”
After the strictures from the apex court, the President, the Law Minister and ARU chairman would set up a good precedent by resigning from their posts. But will they?