ISLAMABAD, DEC 15: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to four people, including former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director-general Faiz Hamid, in a case related to the removal of Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui as a judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The notices were issued by a five-member bench led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, which included Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Justice Irfan Saadat while hearing an appeal filed by Siddiqui against his removal.
The three others who were issued notices are retired brigadiers Irfan Ramay, former Islamabad High Court chief justice Anwar Khan Kasi, and a former registrar of the Supreme Court, Arbab Muhammad Arif.
Siddiqui had nominated seven individuals in his amended plea, however, the court remarked that three others — former chief of army staff Qamar Javed Bajwa, and two retired brigadiers Faisal Marwat and Tahir Wafai — had no direct connection with the case.
The Supreme Court was seized with an appeal moved by Siddiqui against an opinion of the Supreme Judicial Council, and an Oct 11, 2018, notification under which he was removed as a superior court judge for a speech he delivered at the District Bar Association, Rawalpindi, on July 21 of that year.
At the start of the hearing, the chief justice asked the applicant to confirm the truth of his allegations. “Think carefully about whether your allegations are true,” he reiterated.
Siddiqui’s counsel, Hamid Khan, affirmed the truth of the allegations.
The chief justice pointed out that “you are making facilitators as respondents while other beneficiaries are some other people.”
He questioned why the direct beneficiary wasn’t included if facilitators were made respondents.
CJP Isa asked: “Is the Army an independent institution or does it come under someone’s authority?”
Khan responded: “It comes under the government.” The chief justice pressed: “The government is not an individual. Tell us about a person who runs the army.”
He cautioned that Siddiqui’s serious allegations could lead to significant consequences.
Justice Mandokhail emphasised the need for the court to address “what had been happening in the past.”
CJP Isa pointed out that Siddiqui primarily named Faiz Hamid, noting: “Qamar Javed Bajwa had not spoken anything directly about Siddiqui.”
He questioned the logic of issuing a notice to Bajwa. “Why should we issue a notice to him on the basis of this hearsay?”
The chief justice highlighted that there was no direct allegation against Bajwa. He also observed that Ramay was irrelevant to the case.
Justice Mandokhail inquired whether the former IHC chief justice had constituted a bench as allegedly desired by the former DG ISI.
In response to Justice Mandokhail’s question about the decisions on Nawaz’s appeals, the counsel clarified that Nawaz had recently been acquitted after the hearing of his pleas.
CJP Isa noted that Faizabad sit-in of 2017 was, in a speech, referred to as “sponsored”.
The counsel reminded the CJP that he had issued a verdict on the matter.
However, CJP Isa suggested setting the verdict aside and focusing on what the petitioner had written in his plea.
Siddiqui’s counsel asserted that the former ISI DG aimed to prevent Nawaz Sharif from being granted bail before the 2018 polls, “and what he desired had happened”.
After the hearing, the court issued notices to four of the seven respondents and adjourned the hearing until an unspecified date in January.