CJP Unlikely To Let Govt Withdraw Qazi Faez Isa Curative Review, Says Umar Cheema

CJP Unlikely To Let Govt Withdraw Qazi Faez Isa Curative Review, Says Umar Cheema
The apex court has reserved the verdict in the plea seeking withdrawal of curative review in Justice Qazi Faez Esa's case.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial took up the curative review reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa today (Monday).

On March 30, the incumbent government submitted a plea last week to withdraw the curative review.

On May 23, 2019, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led federal government moved the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against Justice Isa and Sindh High Court judge Justice K K Agha over the non-disclosure of their families’ foreign assets in their wealth statements.

However, in June 2020, a 10-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, with a majority of 6 - 4, quashed the presidential reference filed against Justice Isa and the SJC proceedings that were started on the basis of the reference.

In their latest vlog on their YouTube channel, journalists Umar Cheema and Azaz Syed said that earlier there was a perception that a tussle was going on between PTI Chairman Imran Khan and the establishment, but a segment of the establishment was in favor of Khan. However, no such supportive segment has been exposed or proven.

On the other hand, a segment of the judiciary supporting Imran Khan has surfaced.

They said that CJP Bandial has lost his temper and that he can not ensure justice while in a state of anger. They said that either CJP Bandial will form a full-court bench to hear the curative review reference or will forward it to the SJC.

In the past, a reference against Justice Qazi Faez Esa was heard by a 10-member bench. Now three of the judges from that bench have been retired, they said.

The journalists said that those three retired judges were in favor of Justice Qazi Faez Esa. Therefore, CJP Bandial can choose the judges of his own choice, they added.

Both journalists raised the point that CJP Bandial is not forming a larger bench despite the demands raised by the government in the election delay case. So, there is a chance that the matter of Justice Qazi Faez Esa will be referred to the SJC.

They said that in case the matter is referred to the SJC, it will again be heard by the bench headed by CJP Bandial, and the secretary would be the registrar, who has a conflict with Justice Qazi Faez Esa. They added that Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Tariq Masood, Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, and Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh.

The journalists claimed that CJP Bandial would have an advantage whether the case was heard by the full court bench or the SJC.

They mentioned that Gujranwala Bar has also issued a reference against Justice Qazi Faez Esa. They also pointed out that Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi also hails from Gujranwala.

The journalists claimed that PTI Chairman Imran Khan is responsible for the division in the judiciary. PTI considers CJP Bandial a ‘hero', whereas the government is demanding his resignation. They also predicted that Justice Qazi Faez Esa might face a hard time in the coming days.

They highlighted that there are two major groups in the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA): the Asma Jahangir group and the Hamid Khan group. They added that Asma Jahangir's group supports Justice Qazi Faez Esa and Hamid Khan's group backs the PTI, but many of their strong personalities are with Justice Esa.

The journalists also claimed that if the judgment is rendered against Justice Qazi Faez Esa, there would be a strong reaction from the government side.