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PM Sharif orders withdrawal of review petitions against senior SC judge

Separately, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement that Prime Minister Sharif stated that Justice Isa and his family were harassed and defamed in the name of the reference

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif

Press Trust of India Islamabad

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Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday announced that his government will withdraw a case against a Supreme Court judge as differences among the judges of the superior judiciary sharpened over the issue of taking cognizance of political cases.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who is the senior-most judge after the Chief Justice, has been facing challenges since the government of Imran Khan filed a case, called reference, against him in May 2019 for allegedly not disclosing assets owned by his family in London.
The prime minister tweeted that he had directed Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar to withdraw the curative review reference filed against Justice Qazi Isa, observing that the action was taken by the previous government on "flimsy" and "baseless" grounds.
"On my direction, the government has decided to withdraw the Curative Review Petition against the senior-most Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Qazi Faez Isa. The Curative Review was based on ill-will & meant to harass & intimidate the honourable Judge at the behest of Imran (Khan) Niazi, he said in a tweet.
He said that a decision had already been taken by the cabinet last year.
Separately, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement that Prime Minister Sharif stated that Justice Isa and his family were harassed and defamed in the name of the reference.
"This was not a reference, but a vendetta by Imran Khan Niazi, a vindictive person, against a fair-minded judge who followed the path of the Constitution and the law, the statement quoted him as saying.
He maintained that the reference was a nefarious conspiracy to divide the independence of the judiciary, recalling that the PML-N and allied parties had condemned the move even when they were in the opposition.
"Imran Niazi misused the constitutional office of the president for this criminal act and President Arif Alvi became an instrument in the attack on the judiciary and an accomplice to a lie, according to the statement.
The reference was filed after Justice Isa issued a scathing judgment against the army in a case about the siege of Islamabad by an extremist religious party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan.
The legal fraternity went up in arms and announced protest if the judge was de-seated and a 10-member apex court bench threw out the reference on June 19, 2020.
However, seven of the 10 judges on the bench ordered the Inland Revenue Department and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to seek explanations from the judge's wife and children on the nature and source of funding for three properties in their names in the UK.
Later in 2021, Justice Isa won a case which set aside the SC's aforementioned directive after which the entire exercise conducted by the FBR was rendered null and void.
However, the PTI government instituted a curative review later on, which was still pending before the Supreme Court.
Justice Isa is in line to become the chief justice in September this year. He hit headlines on Wednesday when in a judgement he authored along with Justice Aminuddin Khan that the chief justice did not have powers to make special benches or decide its members.
The two judges also said that the hearings based on suo motu notices and cases of constitutional significance under Article 184(3) should be postponed until they are legislated upon.
The judgment came as the government initiated a bill to curtail the powers of the chief justice. After the judgment, a member of the five-member bench hearing a case against delay in election in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa recused himself on Thursday, forcing the Chief Justice, who is heading the panel, to adjourn the hearing till Friday.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 30 2023 | 11:08 PM IST

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