Federal Minister for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem resigned on Monday to represent the government in the Supreme Court (SC) in the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
This is the second time that Naseem, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) stalwart, has resigned from his post. Previously, he had resigned in November last year to represent Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa before the apex court in the case pertaining to the extension in his tenure as the army chief.
Confirming the news of his resignation, Naseem said, “I will ensure that the respect and dignity of judges is maintained. I have no personal agenda. I have the greatest respect for the Bar.”
Last year in September, Justice Isa filed a fresh application requesting the SC to form a full-court bench comprising all eligible judges to hear his petition against the presidential reference filed over non-disclosure of assets in his wealth statement.
Justice Isa had requested that the case be heard by a full court bench comprising all eligible judges of this court since the matter pertained to reference against an SC judge and as per precedent of this court in the case of ex-chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Chaudhry versus president of Pakistan, PLD 2010 Supreme Court.
Justice Isa had said matters narrated in accompanying civil miscellaneous application dated August 26 – “which may for the sake of brevity be read as a part hereof” – demonstrates the necessity for hearing by such full court bench.
“The petition also raises a number of important constitutional questions, including that of the independence of the judiciary, formation of an independent opinion by the president, obtaining federal cabinet’s approval and other vital issues of surveillance, and the manner and method of collecting evidence against a judge of the Supreme Court and his family,” he had said in his application.
On Friday, Justice Isa questioned the eligibility of Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Accountability Shahzad Akbar’s appointment as the head of the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) and for public office.
A 10-member judge bench, led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, will resume hearing the case on June 2, which was earlier scheduled to be taken up on March 30. The apex court had postponed the hearing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On the last hearing on February 24, the federal government had sought a three weeks’ adjournment in the case.