ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Farogh Naseem resigned from his post on Monday to represent the government in the Justice Qazi Faez Esa reference case before the Supreme Court.
The law minister has sent his resignation letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan for approval. A ten-member full court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial will resume hearing on June 2 challenging the presidential reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
Justice Isa is facing a presidential reference for concealing his properties in United Kingdom allegedly held in the name of his spouse and children. This is the second time Farogh Naseem has resigned as law minister from the cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He resigned on 26 November 2019 to represent the government in a case regarding the extension in the tenure of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in the Supreme Court. He was sworn in again on November 29 after a few days.
The federal government moved the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on May 23, 2019 against Justice Isa and Sindh High Court judge K.K. Agha over non-disclosure of foreign assets owned by their families in their wealth statements.
The SJC started proceedings on the reference under the chairmanship of former chief justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa and issued show-cause notices to the judges. The legal fraternity strongly reacted to the reference and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) started protesting against the reference all over the country.
Federal Minister for Law Dr Farogh Naseem failed to get support of lawyers for the reference. Two SJC members namely Justice Khosa and Justice Sheikh Azmat have retired ever since.
In October last year, Justice Umar Ata Bandial resumed hearing of case but two judges namely Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood recused themselves from hearing his case.
The full court has remained divided on different legal points and even expressed concern about the evidence collected against Justice Isa by government authorities and the legal status of an Assets Recovery Units (ARU).
In February, former attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan leveled allegations against some members of the Supreme Court bench hearing the petitions and was forced to resign over his remarks.
The new AGP Khalid Javed Khan recused himself from defending the presidential reference, after which it was decided that Farogh Naseem will plead the case in the apex court.