ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa has offered to submit a sealed affidavit explaining how he knew that a surveillance operation was carried out on him and his family.
The offer was made on the judge’s behalf by his attorney, Muneer A Malik, on Tuesday as the 10-judge full-court, led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, resumed hearing a set of petitions challenging the presidential reference against Justice Isa.
It elicited a strong response from Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan who strongly objected to the submission of any such document.
The AGP said the apex court, under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, cannot record evidence.
However, Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the petitioner has alleged mala fide on behalf of executive authorities and was now trying to establish how it was done.
Justice Isa’s lawyer said the federal government had never declared how information was gathered on Justice Isa and his family members’ properties.
He claimed the government hired a private agency in the United Kingdom to track Justice Isa’s activities there over the past decade.
Malik also revealed that the government had attached in its reply the entire travel history of Justice Isa and his family members.
“I cannot say what mode of surveillance was employed. Emails could have been hacked, or phones tapped, or the defence attache may have obtained secret information related to the UK properties,” said Malik.
However, Justice Muneeb Akhtar noted that mala fide intent cannot be established on the basis of inferences.
Justice Bandial noted that the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) was bound to conduct a proper inquiry as it could not simply throw out a presidential reference against a judge.
Justice Isa’s lawyer read out the SC judgement in the Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry case, wherein a presidential reference against the former chief justice of Pakistan was quashed by the top court on the basis of mala fide intent.
The counsel said the SC has the authority to carry out an ordinary judicial review of the conduct of executive authorities in relation to a reference against a judge.
However, he added, the SJC’s conduct can be reviewed on the basis of the principles laid down by the top court in the Iftikhar Chaudhry case.
The hearing was adjourned till next Monday.