Home Latest News P.M. Sharif Orders Withdrawal of Review Petition against Justice Isa

P.M. Sharif Orders Withdrawal of Review Petition against Justice Isa

Describing curative review sought by previous government as ‘flimsy’ and based on ‘ill-intent,’ premier alleges it was filed on behest of Imran Khan

by Staff Report

P.M. Shehbaz Sharif. Photo courtesy PID

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday directed Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar to withdraw a curative review reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, saying it had been based on “ill-intent” and was meant to “harass” the Supreme Court judge at the “behest” of former prime minister Imran Khan.

The decision follows approval of the same by the federal cabinet last year. “On my direction, the government has decided to withdraw the Curative Review Petition against senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Qazi Faez Isa,” Sharif wrote in a posting on Twitter. “The Curative Review was based on ill-will and meant to harass and intimidate the honorable judge at the behest of Imran Niazi,” he added.

A separate statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office cited Sharif as saying that Justice Isa and his family had been “harassed and defamed” in the name of the presidential reference filed against him under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government. “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,” it quoted the prime minister as saying, adding that the reference had been a “nefarious conspiracy” to curtail judicial independence. He noted that the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), as well as its allies in the ruling coalition, had also condemned the reference while in 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,” read the statement, adding that lawyer organizations, including the Pakistan Bar Council, had also opposed the reference.

The presidential reference against Justice Isa was filed in May 2019 and had alleged that he acquired three properties in London on lease in the name of his wife and children between 2011 and 2015 without disclosing them in his wealth returns. Justice Isa rejected the claims, maintaining that he was not a beneficial owner of the flats.

After several months of hearings, a 10-member bench of the apex court dismissed the presidential reference on June 19, 2020, declaring it “invalid.” However, seven of the 10 judges on the bench ordered the Inland Revenue Department and the Federal Board of Revenue to seek explanations from the judge’s wife and children on the source of their funding for the properties and submit a report to the SC registrar.

The case was eventually set aside in 2021 after Justice Isa won a case against the ruling. However, the PTI-led government had then initiated a curative review, which had been pending before the Supreme Court prior to its withdrawal by the incumbent government.

After being ousted from power, PTI chief Imran Khan claimed that it was a “mistake” to file the reference and blamed the law ministry for it in a bid to absolve himself from any role. However, former law minister Farogh Naseem told journalists the reference was moved on Khan’s insistence.

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