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Pak judiciary in action

SC lashes out at ISI for arbitrariness and not producing fresh report on Faziabad sit-in. Army’s commercial activities also criticized

Nation special report
ISLAMABAD: Judiciary in Pakistan is in full gear and taking prompt decisions on highly controversial issues being confronted by the country but as the grieved people are satisfied and happy with its bold steps but at the other end the targeted figures are very upset and scared. In a latest development, the country’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif was disqualified by Islamabad High Court on Thursday.

Chief Justic Saqib Nisar

A day earlier on Wednesday Chief Justice Saqib Nisar inspected the quake-affected areas in Azad Kashmir and blasted the relevant officials over their bad performance. On the same a Supreme  Court judge lashed out at ISI, the top intelligence agency of the country, for its arbitrariness, after it failed to produce a fresh report on last year’s Faizabad sit-in.
According to details Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has disqualified from parliament by Islamabad High Court (IHC) in Iqama holding case. Khawaja Asif disqualified for life under the article 62(1)(f) of the constitution and according to this Asif will be unable to hold any public and party office. IHC stated in its verdict that Asif was not even qualified to contest polls in 2013.
The Islamabad Court registrar was also directed to send a copy of the judgement to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the speaker of the national assembly to denotify Khawaja Asif as foreign minister and a member of parliament. A three-member bench of the Islamabad High Court announces its reserved verdict in a petition of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Usman Dar seeking disqualification of Federal Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for concealing his Iqama.
Justice Ather Minullah, who was heading the three-member bench, read the verdict which they reserved on April 10 after hearing arguments of both the sides. Responding to the IHC verdict regarding his disqualification Khawaja Asif stated: “I will challenge this verdict in the Supreme Court”.
While talking to media on the IHC verdict Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaf (PTI) leader Usman Dar said: ” Isalute the judiciary for disqualifying Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif”. Earlier, in this matter, Justice Miagul Hassan had recused himself from hearing of the case on March 8. As a result, the three member bench had dissolved and the petition was sent to Chief Justice of IHC Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan for the constitution of a new bench. Then IHC Chief Justice constituted a new larger bench headed by Justice Athar Minallah. In the petition, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Usman Dar has sought disqualification of the federal minister for foreign affairs on the grounds that Khawaja Asif had concealed the facts that he was an Iqama holder, legal advisor of a company in UAE and his recent labour card was issued on June 29, 2017.
Lashes out at ISI Justice Qazi Faez Isa, member of a two-judge bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam, asked if Pakistan had turned into a security state. The court ordered the defence secretary and the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) to appear on the next hearing along with a comprehensive report –revealing the financial affairs of the protest parties and their leaders. The same day, hearing a petition demanding to make the Faizabad sit-in inquiry report public, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court strongly criticised the military, questioning its involvement in commercial activities. In first week of November 2017, the life of the people of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi was disrupted for weeks by a protest of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasullah (TLYR) and some other religious groups.
The leaders of the sit-in, especially Khadim Hussain Rizvi, resorted to repeatedly abusing the state functionaries for their alleged inaction over the issue of amendment to the clauses relating to finality of prophet hood, in the oath of candidates for the assemblies.
After all the fuss and unruliness, the government and protesters reached an army-brokered agreement in which the former conceded to the latter’s demands. Army even gave cash handouts to returning protesters. The court ordered the defence secretary and the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) to appear on the next hearing along with a comprehensive report –revealing the financial affairs of the protest parties and their leaders.

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif talking to media after his hearing at the Accountability Court on Thursday.

The same day, hearing a petition demanding to make the Faizabad sit-in inquiry report public, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court strongly criticised the military, questioning its involvement in commercial activities. In first week of November 2017, the life of the people of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi was disrupted for weeks by a protest of the Tehreeke-Labbaik Ya Rasullah (TLYR) and some other religious groups. The leaders of the sit-in, especially Khadim Hussain Rizvi, resorted to repeatedly abusing the state functionaries for their alleged inaction over the issue of amendment to the clauses relating to finality of prophet hood, in the oath of candidates for the assemblies. After all the fuss and unruliness, the government and protesters reached an army-brokered agreement in which the former conceded to the latter’s demands. Army even gave cash handouts to returning protesters. This trampling of the laws of the land and making a mockery of the state, by the agitators on the one hand and the government and the army on the other, made the apex court take suo motu notice of the whole episode.
On last hearing, the agencies had submitted a report about the sit-in that was rejected by the apex court for being insufficient and unsatisfactory. The top court specifically asked the Inter Services Intelligence [ISI]regarding the source of funding of TLYR, source of income of its leaders and tax returns, if any, which according to the court the agency had failed to answer satisfactorily. Army’s commercial activities In a related case at the Islamabad High Court, the military was strongly criticised for pursuing commercial interests. Hearing a petition for making the Faizabad sit-in inquiry report public, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui questioned army’s involvement in commercial activities.
The judge remarked: “No army in the world is involved in commercial activities but ours is selling even cement, meat and bread.” He said that the court will issue a notice to defence secretary to know about the stance of the ministry over the issue. “They want to earn as per a commercial model but want to be dealt with like an armed force,” said Justice Siddiqui, adding that people have been made mental, economic and moral slaves.
The court issued a notice to the deputy attorney general, seeking a reply on the issue. The petitioner, through his counsel, contended that they had approached the registrar office for access to the report but the plea was denied. Justice Siddiqui replied on a lighter note, saying that he was already facing six references against him and it seemed that the petitioner wanted him [judge] to face the seventh one. “The report has been sealed as per a court order,” he told the lawyer.
The case was deferred for an indefinite period. During earlier hearings, the court had lashed out over assigning military the role of “mediator” to end the TLYR sit-in. Justice Siddiqui had pointed out that instead of following the orders of the prime minister, the army chief himself became a mediator. “Who is the army to adopt a mediator’s role?” the judge asked at a previous hearing. “Where does the law assign this role to a major general?” he further questioned.