Intellectual Dishonesty: How Pro-Establishment Analysts Are Misrepresenting SC Verdict On Justice Isa’s Petitions
While Supreme Court (SC)’s recent decision accepting Justice Qazi Faez Isa and his wife Sarina Isa’s review petitions against the apex court’s June 2020 verdict has been welcomed by legal quarters, some individuals appear to be misrepresenting the judgement.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and legal analyst Aitzaz Ahsan, during a talk show on ARY News, suggested that the top court’s decision accepting Justice Isa’s review petitions implies that in the future no judge can be held accountable by any institution, not even by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). By trying to misrepresent the court’s decision, Aitzaz Ahsan appeared to be creating a narrative that the SC verdict reeks of misuse of power because it says the judges cannot be held accountable due to their position. Social media accounts supporting the government have been saying the same in an organised online campaign against Justice Isa following the SC’s decision.
However, the apex court’s judgement does not give any sort of immunity to all judges. As per the decision, the referral of the case to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in the June 2020 judgement has been set aside. This means any proceedings against Justice Isa that took place after the June 2020 verdict stand illegal and cannot be used against the judge. The verdict therefore does not grant judges blanket immunity, as is being suggested by some quarters in a bid to discredit the decision.
UK authorities gave clean chit to Justice Isa, but report hidden from public
Meanwhile United Kingdom (UK) government’s Revenue and Customs department had reportedly told the government of Pakistan during the course of investigation against Justice Isa that the judge’s wife Sarina Isa purchased three properties for her children for which funds were transferred by legal means and no violations took place. London-based Geo News journalist Murtaza Ali Shah has said that this report was never made public.
On Monday, the Supreme Court accepted Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s review petitions against the apex court’s verdict on the presidential reference against him.
Headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, a 10-member bench of the top court heard Justice Isa’s review petitions against the June 19 2020 verdict in which the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was asked to hold an inquiry into the assets of the judge’s wife Sarina Isa.
Justice Isa and his wife’s review petitions were admitted by a majority of 6-4. The judgement was welcomed by opposition parties as well as legal commentators who maintained that the judge was at the receiving end of a witch-hunt for his no-holds-barred verdicts issued in the recent past.