SC orders nominating ex-DG ISI Faiz Hamid, others in Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui removal plea

Following order, ex-judge files plea seeking to make ex-COAS Bajwa, Faiz parties in case

By
Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui
|
Maryam Nawaz

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered former Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge Shaukat Azizi Siddiqui to nominate former spy chief General Faiz Hamid and others in the plea against his dismissal.

Earlier today the apex court resumed the hearing of a plea filed by the former judge against his removal by the Supreme Judicial Council. The court gave the petitioner a day to nominate the former general and others in the case. 

A five-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Irfan Saadat Khan conducting proceedings on the plea.

The proceedings were broadcast live on the apex court's website as well as on its YouTube channel.

Lawyer Hamid Khan represented the former IHC judge in the case. 

The case was fixed for hearing earlier this month after the judge filed a miscellaneous application with the Supreme Court to conduct an early hearing of his plea against the decision by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on his dismissal.

Order and plea

The SC order, issued by the bench, mentioned that allegations were levelled against some personalities who were not present at the case’s hearing. It added that those accused in the case must be made parties.

“How will he, who is not a party, present his position in front of the court?” the order read.

The order also mentioned that the bench will not be available to hear the petition from Monday due to winter vacations.

Following the order, the ex-judge filed a plea seeking to make former army chief General (retired) Qamar Javed Bajwa a party in the case.

He also sought Faiz, Brigadier (retd) Irfan Ramay, Brigadier (retd) Faisal Marwat, former IHC chief justice Anwar Kasi, and ex-SC registrar Arbab Arif as parties in his case.

The hearing

During the hearing, Siddiqui’s lawyer Hamid Khan reminded the court that the bench in the case has now changed, as earlier former chief justice Umar Ata Bandial was also part of the bench along with Justice Sardar Tariq and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa said that three judges on the previous bench, hearing the case, have retired.

He then asked who was representing the federation, as it objected to the petition's maintainibility. The additional attorney general then took to the rostrum.

“[We] oppose Siddiqui’s petitions as admissible for hearing,” he said.

Senior lawyer Khan, during the hearing of the plea by his client, was asked to narrate the transcript of the ex-IHC judge’s speech, which allegedly led to his dismissal.

CJP Isa told Khan that after the SC Practice and Procedure Act came into force, it should therefore be remembered that benches are constituted according to law

“If you are accusing someone, then make them a party,” CJP Isa said addressing Khan, asking him to nominate individuals in the petition.

The CJP added that the court should also listen to those who are being accused in the plea.

“If you are accusing personalities, why did you not make them a party?” he asked Khan.

The chief justice said that the said person might appear and accept the accusation or present his position on the matter.

The top SC judge said the individuals should be called out for their actions instead of institutions while terming the practice of defaming institutions a “disaster”.

“Institutions remain the same. Institutions are run by people,” he remarked.

The chief justice said institutions have both good and bad people.

Justice Mandokhail inquired whether the petitioner blamed a person or an institution.

The lawyer said he mentioned in the miscellaneous application that Faiz Hamid and an ISI Brigadier visited the former IHC judge's home.

“When you blame an individual, make him a party. Institutions do not speak, only the persons sitting in the institution speak,” CJP Isa told Khan.

He added that whoever is accused should also be listened to and that they may admit to the charges.

He asked Khan: “Do you want to make the person you are accusing a party or not?”

“Did the person you’re accusing ever respond to you on any forum? Justice Mandokhail asked, adding if the SJC took notice of this person.

Khan said his client was not given a chance to present his stance in the past.

Responding to which CJP Isa told him that he now has the opportunity to do so. “This is not the Supreme Judicial Council. This is Supreme Court.”

He insisted that the accused person should be made a party in the petition and if not, then his name shouldn’t be taken here.

Khan also spoke about Siddiqui’s demand to conduct open proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council.

“As per Supreme Judicial Council Rules of Inquiry, the proceedings are in camera,” the chief justice replied, adding that he is personally against in-camera SJC proceedings.

“In my opinion, every action should be open,” CJP Isa said.

He then asked Khan if he was around during the SJC proceedings, to which he replied in affirmative and told the court he was Siddiqui’s lawyer.

“Were any witnesses produced before the Supreme Judicial Council?” CJP Isa asked.

“The Supreme Judicial Council did not allow anything, including witnesses,” Khan responded.

The chief justice told the counsel that he is accusing the SJC without making it a party in the case.

Ex-judge expects 100% justice

In an interview with Geo News, the former judge was asked if justice would be ensured since it took so long for his petition to be taken up by the top court.

“I expect 100% justice,” replied Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.

Responding to a question about whether he has evidence against the alleged injustice meted out to him, the ex-judge said: “The evidence has already been given. Not denying the allegations is in itself a huge evidence.”

When asked how the judiciary could be freed from external pressure in the future, the jurist said it may happen. The Supreme Court should form an inquiry commission and give directions to investigate, he added.

The former judge was questioned if he felt under pressure following his dismissal. “For the past five years, my family and I have seen very difficult situations.”

IHC judge removal

It must be noted that the former judge was removed from his position in the IHC for his speech targeting intelligence agencies when he was addressing the Rawalpindi Bar Association on July 21, 2018.

In his address, the ex-judge accused sensitive institutions of interfering in judicial work.

Multiple references were subsequently filed against him which included extra expenses on government residence, two related references against him passing remarks during hearing of the Faizabad sit-in case in 2017, another seeking his dismissal and one taken up by the SJC following on a complaint filed against him in the wake of the speeches.

He was eventually dismissed from the post on October 11, 2018, after the SJC decided to dismiss him.

The judge then challenged his dismissal by the SJC in 2018 and his case has been ongoing ever since with the last hearing on the constitutional petition held on June 13, 2022.

Siddiqui, in his petition, requested to cancel the dismissal notification issued against him as an IHC judge.

The judge is being represented by senior lawyer Hamid Khan, while parties in the petition include the Islamabad Bar Association and Karachi Bar Association.