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Law Provides ‘Safeguards’ For Investigations Against Judges, Says Justice Isa’s Counsel

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ISLAMABAD: The lawyer of Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Tuesday questioned the credibility of Waheed Dogar, the complainant who had written a letter to the government’s Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) in which he alleged that the judge owned a property abroad that had not been disclosed in his asset statements. Following the complaint, the government filed a reference against Justice Isa.

A 10-member larger bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial had on Tuesday resumed hearing the petitions filed by Justice Isa to challenge the presidential reference against him.

Justice Isa’s legal counsel, namely Advocate Muneer Malik, asked as to how legal proceedings could be initiated against a judge on the basis of a complaint filed by Dogar.

He contended that there are “certain safeguards’ in the law in connection with investigations against sitting judges.

“The complaints were received, evidence was collected and references were filed at different times,” Malik said. Justice Maqbool Baqar, a member of the bench, asked the lawyer: “Do you mean to say that the investigation against the judge was initiated without due process?”

Malik informed the Supreme Court (SC) that Dogar had written to the ARU in April soon after Justice Isa issued his verdict in a case related to the Faizabad sit-in.

“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, while reading out the letter for the court.

“What is the ARU and why is it in the Prime Minister Secretariat?” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, also part of the bench, questioned.

“Can you tell the court about the legal status of the ARU?” Justice Baqar inquired. Malik replied by saying: “There is no civil servant in the ARU”.

“According to you, the investigation [against Justice Isa] began because of the [actions of the] ARU?” Justice Baqar asked the advocate.

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On this, Malik said that the ARU, after receiving the complaint, had written to the law minister on May 10 to know about his position on the matter. He further said that ARU officials had also met with officials from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the same day. During that meeting, the name of Justice Isa’s wife and her Spanish nationality had surfaced for the first time, Malik added.

“Her name came up because of a visa request,” Justice Bandial noted. “Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s wife had been granted a five-year visa,” he added.

Malik questioned as to how Dogar knew the name of Justice Isa’s wife. He said that the identities of Justice Isa’s wife and their son were revealed for the first time after Dogar’s letter.

He also questioned the credibility of Dogar’s accusations against his client. The lawyer claimed that the complainant obtained the documents [provided as evidence against Justice Isa] after carrying out an online search on London properties owned by Pakistanis.

“Can you take data from London’s land authority online?” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah questioned. Malik responded by saying: “You can find out about plots but you cannot find out who they belong to.”

“The question is, how was the information regarding the property gathered?” Justice Bandial questioned. Malik said, “The information was gathered by stalking the petitioner and his family.”

“Do you want to say that the FIA and FBR (Federal Board of Revenue) had provided all the information to Dogar?” Justice Bandial asked.

Malik said that Dogar was also responsible for informing the ARU about Justice KK Agha’s dual nationality and his foreign property, adding that he failed to provide any documentary evidence in this connection. He also said that Dogar seemed to be a “fake appellant”.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar asked Advocate Malik if he believed that Dogar was a proxy for another complainant. Malik responded by saying, “Dogar is not a trustworthy and credible man.”

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When asked whether Justice Isa had ever given money to his wife as a gift, Advocate Malik said that he would inform the court about it after confirming the facts.

Later, the court issued notices to the respondents of the fresh constitutional petitions filed against the Supreme Judicial Council’s proceedings in the matter, and adjourned the hearing till October 16 (Wednesday).

Reference Against Justice Isa

The reference filed against Justice Isa alleged that he had purchased three properties in London on lease in the name of his wife and children between 2011 and 2015, but did not disclose them in his assets information.

The judge, while denying the allegations, claimed that the allegations were levelled against him to attack him and his family.

In his reply submitted to the apex court on Sunday, Justice Isa claimed that the government wanted to make the judiciary subservient.

Justice Isa further said in his reply that the government first tried to target him but after failing to do so, they targeted his family and exposed them to danger. He said that this act showed malice, mala fide, ulterior motives and victimisation.

Moreover, Justice Isa said that that no evidence had been provided to prove that he had paid for the foreign properties.

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