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Supreme Judicial Council issues notice to Justice Qazi Faez Isa over reference

ISLAMABAD, May 30 (DAWN/WNP): Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on Thursday issued notices to Supreme Court’s Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Karim Khan Agha of the Sindh High Court over references filed against them.

The SJC — the only constitutional forum that can examine the conduct of superior court judges and recommend their removal — will hold a hearing of the two references on June 14.

According to media reports, the references accuse the two judges of concealing their assets and recommend action against them under Article 209 of the Constitution.

On Wednesday, against the backdrop of reports regarding institution of references against superior court judges, Justice Isa had approached President Dr Arif Alvi, complaining that selective leaks to the media amount to his character assassination, thus jeopardising his right to due process and fair trial.

An informed source had told Dawn that in his letter to the president, the SC judge had also said he would be obliged if the former could let him know if it was correct that a reference had been filed against him.

“I am confident that you (president) will agree that if a reference has been filed and I have been called upon to submit my reply thereto, only then, subject to the permission of the Supreme Judicial Council, the government may disclose the reference and my response thereto,” Justice Isa stated in the letter.

Legal observers believe that the current campaign against Justice Isa was launched after he authored a strongly worded judgement on February 6 in a case relating to the November 2017 Faizabad sit-in by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakis­tan (TLP), directing the defence ministry and chiefs of the army, navy and air force to penalise the personnel under their command found to have violated their oath.

Justice Isa, who is in line to become the chief justice of Pakistan, also requested the president to provide him a copy of the reference if one was filed against him. “Selective leaks amount to character assassination, jeopardise my right to due process and fair trial and undermine the institution of the judiciary,” he stated.

Also on Wednesday, additional attorney general Zahid F. Ebrahim, a son of former chief election commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, resigned from his office in protest over what he called an attempt to tarnish the reputation of independent individuals and browbeat the judiciary.

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