Fear kept FBR from initiating action against Justice Isa, Farogh Naseem tells SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan resumed hearing on Wednesday in the presidential reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa in relation to his assets in London.

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A ten-member larger SC bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed heard the case today.

The apex court looked into the petitions by the Supreme Judicial council today, where during the arguments the government’s counsel Farogh Naseem claimed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not begin inquiry against Justice Isa, out of fear.

During the arguments, Naseem said that in 2019, Waheed Dogar sent the complaint to the Assets Recovery Unit and wrote a letter as well regarding the properties in London.

“Tell us, who gave permission to Dogar to conduct inquiry into the matter?” said Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, asking how did the ARU launch an inquiry in the issue.

To which, Naseem responded that the ARU has the support of the law, and after 1988, the record of every property in London is open.

Justice Atta Bandiyal said that the apex court judge is not facing an allegation of corruption, but of not revealing his assets in London.

“Justice Isa’s wife and children also didn’t declare the London property,” said the government’s counsel.

Naseem continued that despite the judge hailing from an affluent family, the record does not show agricultural tax on the land.

“Why did the FBR not take action in the case?” said Justice Maqbool Baqir.

“The FBR was scared if they acted against a judge, they will be facing legal action,” said Naseem.

In yesterday’s hearing, Barrister Farogh Naseem faced objection for his representation of the government in the presidential reference.

Naseem had earlier tendered his resignation to represent government in the case agaisnt the judge.

The reference filed against Justice Isa alleged that he acquired three properties in London on lease in the name of his wife and children between 2011 and 2015, but did not disclose them in wealth returns.

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.

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