-Govt’s reference against Justice Isa
By Shakeel Ahmed
ISLAMABAD: Barrister Farogh Naseem faced objection for his representation of the government in the presidential reference filed against Supreme Court judge Justice Faez Isa on Tuesday, a day after the former law minister said he has resigned from the post.
A ten-member full court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, resumed hearing the case today, where the former law minister appeared as the advocate for the federal government.
During the hearing, Justice Isa’s lawyer, Munir A Malik, said that Naseem will have to present a certificate from the Attorney General in order to be deemed appropriate for the representation.
“[I]respect Farogh Naseem, but do object to his representation of the federal government,” said Malik before the court. In his arguments, the former law minister said that he will also represent Special Assistant to PM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar.
“I was made a party to the case in a personal capacity, Irfan Qadir will represent me,” said Naseem.
Munir Malik said that according to the rules, the federal government is not allowed to hire a private lawyer.
However, Justice Atta Bandial said that the judge’s advocate should not raise objection and let the case proceed further. “The summer vacation are right around the corner and we want the case to proceed,” remarked the judge. Law Minister Farogh Naseem’s resignation was accepted by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday. “I will represent the federation in the case and therefore I have tendered my resignation as the law minister”, Naseem said, adding that he had great respect for the judges and the judiciary.
In February this year, the Supreme Court (SC) had directed the federal government to explain in court whether the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) was empowered to conduct an inquiry against a sitting judge of the apex court. The results of the inquiry, later placed before President Arif Alvi, had resulted in a presidential reference filed against Justice Isa back in May 2019. Justice Isa had been accused of failing to disclose assets belonging to his wife and children in his tax returns.
Justice Isa had written letters to President Alvi after the law minister instituted a presidential reference against him for allegedly possessing properties in the United Kingdom in the name of wife and children.