November 5th, 2020
By Ahmad Saeed
In an exclusive comment given to Voicepk.net, Yasin Azad, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has revealed that last month, PM Imran Khan called a meeting with lawyers’ representatives in which he sought help from figures in the bar associations in removing Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
Yasin Azad claims that Justice Isa’s free-spirited attitude “upsets” the government, for this reason, it will try anything in its power to try and remove him from office.
Yasin also claimed that PM Imran Khan vowed to crack down on Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, Editor in Chief of the Geo/Jang group, during his meeting with the lawyers. It is pertinent to mention that Mir Shakil has been in the custody of NAB for more than 200 days and has been implicated in a case that is almost in 30-years-old.
Mir Shakil’s bail application is pending in the courts. The Geo/Jang Group maintains that Mir Shakil is innocent and his undue arrest is an attack on freedom of speech in the country.
On the other hand, senior lawyers and bar leaders termed the dissenting notes of Justice Maqbool Baqir and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, in the case of Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, a charge sheet for the entire federal government including the President and the Prime Minister (PM).
In his dissenting note, Justice Maqbool Baqir called the allegations leveled against Justice Issa “baseless, ridiculous and based on malice.”
According to Justice Maqbool Baqir, the government used its machinery and government resources unconstitutionally and illegally to find some excuse to oust Justice Isa.
In his note, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah wrote that the entire investigation carried out against Justice Issa including the process of surveillance, evidence collection, and approval of the summary by the PM was based on facts and legal intent.
Abid Saqi, vice chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), while speaking to voicepk.net called the dissenting notes an indictment against the moral authority of the entire government.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah further stated that the bold instruction given in the judgment of the Faizabad sit-in by Justice Issa was “disturbing” for those who are actually in power
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah in his dissenting note directed the authorities to initiate criminal and disciplinary proceedings against the chairman of the asset recovery unit (ARU), a legal expert employed the unit and members as well as the officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) involved in taking illegal action against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
Kamran Murtaza, a senior jurist, stated that even though the dissenting notes penned down by both the judges do not have any legal standing the facts written in these notes are indeed very frightening. He called on the Chief Justice to take suo motu notice and appropriate legal action in light of the information stated in these notes.
Following the detailed decision, various bar councils and associations have already demanded the resignations of the president and law minister. The dissenting notes have further increased pressure on the government. The legal points stated in these notes will create more problems for the government.
It remains to be seen whether the government will take any steps to reduce this pressure or continue its confrontation with the legal community.