False, Frivolous, Concocted: Lt Gen Faiz Hameed Rebuts Justice Siddiqui's Allegations

In a written reply, the former spy chief says if he had any intention of manipulating benches, he would have approached the IHC chief justice, not Justice Siddiqui

False, Frivolous, Concocted: Lt Gen Faiz Hameed Rebuts Justice Siddiqui's Allegations

Pakistan's former spy chief, Lt Gen (retired) Faiz Hameed, has denied allegations levelled against him regarding the manoeuvring and managing of the judiciary to oust former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from politics. 

In a written reply submitted to the Supreme Court on Monday, the former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Hameed termed the allegations levelled by Justice (retired) Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui as absolutely false, frivolous, concocted and based on an 'afterthought', adding that they are controverted. 

Justice Siddiqui, who had allegedly been kicked out of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) after an anti-establishment outburst in a public forum and for refusing to bow down to the directions from Lt Gen Hameed and others, had accused the former spy chief of manipulating benches and decisions. Justice (retired) Siddiqui has challenged a decision by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to stop his pension after removing him as a judge of the IHC in the Supreme Court. 

The top court had issued a notice to the former ISI chief to submit his reply before hearings on the petition resume on Tuesday, January 23. Subsequently, Lt Gen (retired) Hameed filed a reply through his counsel, Khawaja Haris.

Lt Gen Hameed, in his reply, denied having ever approached Justice Siddiqui at his residence on June 29, 2018, or on July 19, 2018, to apologise for the alleged conduct of Brigadier (retired) Irfan Ramay or for seeking guidance to protect the prestige of the ISI, by modifying any of Justice Siddiqui's orders in the relevant writ petitions.

"Similarly, the Respondent No. 1 (law ministry) never inquired from the petitioner (Justice Siddiqui) about the procedure of hearing of appeals in the high court on judgment and conviction by the. NAB court of prime minister Nawaz Sharif, etc., or asked the petitioner about his view in case the appeals came before "the Petitioner"," the reply stated. 

Lt Gen Hameed contended that allegations made by Justice Siddiqui regarding the meeting and the conversation 'is tarah tau hamari do saal ki mehnat zaya ho jaey gi' (if you do this, it will lay waste our efforts of the past two years) is also absolutely false.

"It may be pertinent to add here that the benches for hearing appeals were to be constituted by the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court and not by the petitioner [who was then the senior puisne judge], and, as such, if the respondent No. 3 (Faiz Hameed) had any desire [which he could not dare to entertain] to have a bench of his choice to be constituted he would have approached the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court to do so, rather than to involve the petitioner in this matter; and that too, after the petitioner himself admits in his petition that earlier to the Respondent No. 3's alleged July 19, 2018, visit, the petitioner had already refused [during Respondent No.3's alleged June 29, 2018, visit] to accede to his alleged request for protecting "the prestige of ISI by modifying orders passed by him in the writ petitions mentioned in para 1.c of the petition"," the reply contended. 

To the innuendo in the petitioner's claims that "subsequently, the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court agreed to constitute bench as per their demands," Lt Gen Hameed argued, adding that the bench constituted by the IHC chief justice for hearing appeals relating to Nawaz Sharif and his family, not only comprised of the two of the finest judges who have sat on the bench but that the bench proceeded to suspend the sentence of Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law, who had been convicted by the Accountability Court-1 Islamabad.

"It is also noteworthy that one of the learned members of the said bench, thereafter, became the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court (Justice Athar Minallah) and is presently holding office as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan."

Lt-Gen Hameed added that the then-chief justice of IHC has also comprehensively refuted allegations levelled by Justice Siddiqui. 

"The Respondent No. 3 (Faiz Hameed), therefore, in response to allegations made against him, comprehensively denies the same as demonstrably false, frivolous, and concocted."

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain