Islamabad: Justice Qazi Faez Isa, a senior judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, appeared as a petitioner before none other than the Supreme Court itself on his wife’s behalf requesting the 10-member bench to listen to her submissions via a video link in relation to charges of tax evasion.
He assured the bench that she would satisfy the Supreme Court’s full court about the source of three offshore properties in her and her children’s names.
The bench allowed Justice Isa’s wife to record her statement via video link and Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who is heading the full bench, described the offer as a big development.
The judge asked Justice Isa to ask his wife to talk briefly and take care of the court decorum.
Earlier, Pakistan’s ex-Law Minister Farogh Nasim who after tendering his resignation is appearing on the president’s behalf told the bench that Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi respect the supremacy of the court and had no objection if the matter could be sent to the FBR.
The court at one point reminded the petitioner that it was not appropriate to appear when the message could have been conveyed through his counsel Muneer A Malik.
Justice Isa said it was not because of the respect of any individual but for the respect of the institution that his wife wanted to share details of the properties not to anybody but to the court since the matter was in the public domain.
So far, he said, the government had failed to answer why she had not been inquired about the properties when she was in Islamabad. Not even the SJC summoned her, he added.
Her father is suffering from brain cancer, he said adding yet she wanted to share details of the properties not with anybody else but with the court, because when she went to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) without any protocol or guard she was made fun of, Justice Isa said.
The ten-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) is conducting a hearing into a presidential reference against Justice Isa over possessing undeclared offshore properties.
President of Pakistan Arif Alvi in May last year had sent a case to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), the apex body for investigation/accountability of judges’ misconduct accusing that Justice Isa possessed undisclosed properties overseas and did not mention them in his wealth returns.
The reference was later challenged by Justice Isa in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking directives of the court to restrain the SJC from proceeding in the Presidential reference.
Defence lawyer Farogh Nasim said even if those properties, as Justice Isa later submitted, belonged to his wife and children, he should have mentioned them in his relevant documents of wealth tax/returns.
During the hearings the court has repeatedly expressed its surprise as what made the government send a reference of misconduct against the judge to the SJC when the matter could have been resolved by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as it was a matter of tax returns related to his wife.
On Thursday, however, when the court resumed hearing on Justice Isa’s petition in which he maintained that the presidential reference against him was based on malafide intent, Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the statement would be recorded in the afternoon.
Justice Isa has also accused PM Imran Khan and politicians as well as members of his cabinet of possessing offshore companies.