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SC restrains Justice Qazi Faez Isa from hearing cases against PM

Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa. Source: FILE.

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed has restrained Justice Qazi Faez Isa from hearing cases involving the Prime Minister of Pakistan as he has filed a petition against the premier in his personal capacity.

The development came during a case pertaining to the release of Rs500 million development funds to each lawmaker directed by the prime minister. A five-member bench headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan heard the matter.

According to the written order, Chief Justice Ahmed “observed that in these circumstances it would not be proper for the judge to hear the matter considering that he had already filed a petition against the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in his personal capacity.

The chief justice further noted down that in “order to uphold the principle of un-biasness and impartiality, it would be in the interest of justice that the Judge (Justice Isa) should not hear matters involving the prime minister of Pakistan.”

The court noted that Qazi Faez Isa sought to place on record photocopies of certain documents reportedly received by him from some anonymous source through a WhatsApp message.

It further said the copies of those documents were handed over by the judge to other members of the bench. A copy was also handed over to the learned Attorney General for Pakistan. Judge Qazi Faez Isa also stated that he was unsure if the documents were genuine.

Earlier, the Supreme Court disposed of the case, declaring the prime minister’s response satisfactory in the release of the development funds.

During the hearing, Justice Qazi Faez Isa had inquired if it was Prime Minister Imran Khan’s job to distribute envelopes of money to members of the National Assembly. Justice Gulzar Ahmed, on the other hand, clarified the apex court’s judges were not controlling the Prime Minister’s Office.

A report from the finance secretary and signed by the premier was also submitted during the hearing. In the report, Prime Minister Imran Khan denied reports of giving development funds to the members of parliament. 

The report stated that no public funds are being distributed to the parliamentarians by the federal government and any report to the contrary in the media is incorrect. “No money will be handed over to the legislatures to carry out the development schemes,” says the statement.

The report further states that the finance division has not allocated or handed over money to any legislature or any person nor has it intended to do so and there is no such provision in the public finance management system.

The report said that there is no discretionary allocation at the disposal of the prime minister, federal minister, parliamentarian, or any other person, under the existing budgetary system. As such, expenditures incurred are never person-specific.