ISLAMABAD: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday appeared before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) in a case of alleged misconduct filed against him in the wake of his controversial speech targeting the country’s top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Sources revealed to The Express Tribune that a five-member SJC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, heard the arguments of Justice Siddiqui counsel’s Hamid Khan.
Later, the bench reserved its opinion on whether to proceed further against the judge or send recommendation to the President of Pakistan for his removal.
During the proceedings that continued for three hours, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan supported the show-cause notice issued to the IHC judge. However, the SJC did not take decision on Justice Siddiqui’s plea to hold an open inquiry into the case.
Justice Siddiqui asks SJC to hold open trial
Since 1971, no superior court judge has been removed. Most of the judges opted to tender resignation to avoid an SJC inquiry. However, Justice Siddiqui opted to face the charges of misconduct. Currently, three cases are registered against him in the SJC.
In an address to the Rawalpindi District Bar Association on July 21, Justice Siddiqui had alleged that the ISI was manipulating the judicial proceedings for the formation of favourable benches. Later, a case of misconduct was filed against him at the SJC.
The IHC judge has already submitted two replies. In his first reply, he has raised legal objection to the SJC inquiry. And in the second, he has given his response on factual issues.
According to sources, Justice Siddiqui has mainly narrated his two meetings with a ‘senior official’ at his residence to establish his claim about manipulation of judicial proceedings especially in the Panamagate case. Some experts believe that any such revelations might trigger another political controversy.
It is learnt that the SJC asked the IHC judge why he allowed ‘a senior official’ to call on him at his residence. According to the reply, the IHC judge met the government official in the months of June and July.
IHC chief justice Anwar Kasi has already denied allegations levelled against him by Justice Siddiqui, who had also claimed that the ISI approached the IHC top judge to ask him not to let former premier Nawaz Sharif come out of prison before the general election and not to include Siddiqui in the bench.
SJC calls in IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui
According to the show-cause notice, the council had noted that Justice Siddiqui in his speech hurled ‘serious allegations’ against the superior judiciary and a ‘state institution’.
The IHC judge was asked to explain his conduct with regard to his allegations which prima facie constitute misconduct on his part within the meaning of paragraph (b) of clause (5) and clause (6) of Article 209 of the Constitution.
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