PM orders withdrawal of 'baseless' curative review against Justice Isa

Shehbaz says reference not only 'baseless' but 'filed on flimsy and political grounds'

Rizwan Shehzad   March 30, 2023
Justice Qazi Faez Isa. PHOTO: FILE


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday ordered the withdrawal of the curative review reference against Supreme Court's senior-most judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa as the government has decided not to pursue the matter further.

The federal cabinet has already approved the decision.

“The Prime Minister has directed Law Minister Senator Azam Nazir Tarar to withdraw the curative review reference against Justice Qazi Faiz Isa,” read an official statement issued by the Prime Minister Office. 

According to the statement, the premier said that Justice Isa and his family were harassed and defamed in the name of presidential reference. 

“This was not a reference, it was a revenge action by [ex-PM] Imran Niazi, a vindictive person, against a fair-minded judge who followed the path of the Constitution and the law,” PM Shehbaz said while ordering to take back the case.

He furthered that filing of reference was “a nefarious conspiracy to divide the independence of the Judiciary and divide it,” saying the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and allied parties had condemned the “false reference” even during the opposition period.

Read Govt hatching conspiracy to divide judiciary: Imran

“Imran Niazi misused the constitutional office of President for this criminal act,” Shehbaz said, adding that “President Arif Alvi became an instrument in the attack on the Judiciary and an accomplice to a lie.”

He maintained that the lawyers' organisations, including the Pakistan Bar Council, had also opposed it, saying the government respects their opinion. 

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) -led federal government on May 23, 2019, had moved the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) – the forum that can hold superior court judges accountable – against Justice Isa and Sindh High Court judge Justice K K Agha over non-disclosure of their families foreign assets in their wealth statements.

However, in June 2020, the top court had quashed the presidential reference filed against Justice Isa as well as the SJC proceedings that were started on the basis of the reference.

“Reference No 1 of 2019 is declared to be of no legal effect whatsoever and stands quashed, and in consequence thereof the proceedings pending in the SJC against the petitioner [Justice Isa] including the show-cause notice dated 17.07.2019 issued to him stand abated,” had said a short order.

A 10-judge full court had issued the verdict after hearing for over six months a slew of petitions filed against the reference that claimed that Justice Isa had committed misconduct by not disclosing his family members' properties in the UK in his wealth statement.

Interestingly, former premier Imran Khan had admitted in April 2022 that the filing of a presidential reference for the removal of Justice Isa was a mistake. He had conceded his “mistake” during a meeting with the Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF) members.


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