Justice Isa case – towards legal implosion

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By Wajid Shamsul Hasan

It is apprehended by sceptics as things are moving fast in that direction, that before the judgement in Faizabad Dharna Review filed by the government is announced by the Supreme Court, fate of one of the highly reputed, independent and forthright judges- Justice Qazi Faez Isa would be decided under the cover of shoddily moved reference by the Presidency before the Supreme Judicial Councils.

Justice Isa stirred the hornets’ nest for his land mark, earth-shaking decision holding the Labaik Parry and its leaders responsible for the notorious Faizabad Dharna led by Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, in cahoots with ISI and the media. It was established beyond any doubt that all three were collaborators in meddling arbitrarily in most deplorable conspiracy that aimed at destabilising an elected government and creating conditions for internal chaos and anarchy.

Independent analysts have the consensus view that Faizabad Dharna was the first stone cast at dismantling Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s elected government in a farfetched collaborative conspiracy involving many ‘players’ overtly and covertly. There could not be better proof of it all than the video that went viral showing a senior army officer in uniform distributing cash envelopes to Labaiki protestors to ‘provide them money for food and transport’ to return home. It was an ugly reminder of money distributed by by the intelligence agencies to rent-a-crowd to provide street power to CIA and General Zia backed PNA movement of 1977 to give a popular facade to military coup to oust populist Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

The Supreme Court’s historic judgement in Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s petition is still pending implementation since the rogues found involved in it are Praetorian super masters much like General Pervez Musharraf who was facilitated to escape prosecution for high treason for violating the Constitution and murders of martyred Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti by no other than the then Army Chief General Raheel Sharif. At the end of the day if one looks at Faizabad Dharna case judgement by Justice Faez Isa and Justice Mushir Alam, it would seem to be a powerful irrefutable addition to the indictment of country’s intelligence apparatus by the Supreme Court in Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s petition.

In the overall context of our judiciary’s performance since its inception is far from encouraging. Except for few judges like Justice M.R. Kayani, Justice Dorab Patel, Justice Muhammad Halim, Justice Safdar Shah, Justice Waheesuddin, Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim Justice Bhagwandas, Justice Cornelius, Justice Constantine, Justice Kaikaus, Justice Samdhani, Justice Yaqoob Ali, Justice Mari and lastly Justice Qazi Faez Isa, judges starting from Chief Justice Muhammad Munir, Justice Anwarul Haq, Justice Mushtaq, Justice Nasim Hassan Shah, Justice Saqib Nisar, Justice Qayumabc host of others allowed apex judiciary to be used to its ends for upholding Praetorian extra-constitutional interventions by pliable judges. Any judge that showed his teeth was either defanged or subjected to fresh oath under PCO or just sent back home. Eminent judges who tried to uphold rule of law were hounded out. We have example of three judges from the smaller in Bhutto Sahib’s case who acquitted him while their four colleagues from Punjab carried out the orders of Gen Zia to hang him. One of them Justice Nasim Hasan Shah who wrote the judgement of conviction many years later confessed that Bhutto sahib was wrongly hanged. He was innocent.

The much publicised reference moved in the Supreme Judicial Council through overt and covert leaks managed by the powers that be against Justice Faez Isa for his indictment of the dark state in Faizabad Dharna case and the killing of 70 lawyers in Quetta in suicide bombing is likely to become an implosive event on June 14 when Supreme Judicial Council takes up the reference against Justice Isa. If in the longer run an attempt is made to white wash the sins of omission and commission of the dark state by deliberately victimising Justice Faez Isa, it would be the beginning of the end of Pakistan’s judiciary.

Though reputed to be a quiet judge who did not believe in playing to the gallery like his senior now retired CJP Justice Saqib Nisar. Justice Isa has made his name by his forthright judgements. He got himself stuck as a thorn in the back of the dark state when he gave a judgement on merit in favour of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. By going against the desired wishes of the powers that be who were desperate to rush in where even angels fear to tread the cricketer prime minister to play ball game with them.

Justice Isa was singled out for his landmark judgement on February 6 in the November 2017 notorious Faizabad Dharna sit-in. Those of its proxies in the black coat brigade dubiously enrolled in various bar associations were moved into action to launch a vilification campaign against Justice Isa. In his historic judgement Justice Isa had directed the Ministry of Defence to take action against officials who had blatantly violated their oath- no less than an act of high treason.

Except the puppets on the chains of powers that be, there is a national consensus among bar associations in the country and members of legal fraternity to uphold justice and Fair Play and stand by Justice Isa in his defence against the ‘usual dirty tricks’ resorted by the dark state to demolish any one who tries to defy its sinister machinations to monopolise power. The most serious insult to his injury was afflicted by the powers that be when a rent-a-petitioner alleged that Justice Isa had been facilitating the activities of Indian intelligence Raw in Balochistan oblivious of the fact that Justice Faez’s father Barrister Qazi Mohmmad Isa was one of the founders of Pakistan, youngest member of All India Muslim League’s core committee and a trusted lieutenant of the Quaid.

It is, indeed, an irony to see reference being moved by President Arif Alvi against a judge of impeccable character that once made him tweet as PTI leader that if an honest and upright person is needed to be governor of Balochistan, his choice was Justice Faez Isa!

(The writer is the former High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK and a veteran journalist.)