- No witch hunt, please
There are no holy cows in the eyes of the law, be they politicians, judges or any other category of high and mighty. The President was within his rights to send a reference to the Supreme Judicial Council if he had sufficient evidence against Mr Justice Faez Isa. This should have been done keeping strictly in view the principle that a man is innocent unless proved guilty. The President had to be extra careful because the PTI has filed a petition calling for a review of the Faizabad sit-in case judgment passed by a Supreme Court bench of which Mr Justice Faez Isa was also a member
It would be unfortunate if the allegation that the content of the reference was leaked out to selected quarters is found to be true. It is a fact that recently sections of the media started insinuations amounting to character assassination of the judge.
Mr Justice Qazi Faez Isa is known for calling a spade a spade. This has sometimes annoyed powerful people. His findings in the report about the 2016 Quetta suicide attack left then Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan red-faced. He vowed to go to court but then thought better of it. Hell was let loose when the hearing of the Faizabad case started in November 2017 and officials representing various constitutional institutions and government departments, not used to questioning, were asked to give explanations. Soon a petition was filed in the Supreme Court questioning the appointment of Mr Justice Isa as Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court, a position from which he was elevated to the Supreme Court. The petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court, exonerating Mr Justice Isa.
The reference against Mr Justice Isa came days after the executive committee of the Punjab Bar Council passed a resolution criticising the judgment. This creates a perception of collusion. But the lawyers community all over the country, led by the Pakistan Bar Council, has reacted strongly against the resolution.
The reference is with the Supreme Judicial Council now. One expects the SJC, that deals with references against members of the higher judiciary, to ensure that justice is not only done but is also seen to have been done.