ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan, while hearing identical petitions challenging the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez, Wednesday directed the Attorney General for Pakistan to file written arguments on the next hearing to be held on February 24.

A 10-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the petitions challenging the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez for allegedly not disclosing his foreign properties in wealth statements.

Besides the apex court judge, Pakistan Bar Council, Supreme Court Bar Association, Bar Councils and Association of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and Abid Hassan Minto, and I A Rehman have also challenged the presidential reference.

The bench passed a short order after the proceedings. The order said that the attorney general is granted time to collect the facts that address the definition which he likes to read before us. It would be appreciated that most of the arguments he has addressed are submitted in written.

The order further said that a certain statement was made by the attorney general about the bench yesterday. It would be appreciative that the material on the basis of that he has made the statement be placed before this bench. In case no material is placed before this bench then we expect written apology from the attorney general for having touched the matter. It is not against one but against every member of the bench. The requisite be made available to the bench on Monday, the order said.

The attorney general contended that the judge has not declared the foreign assets of his wife and children in his wealth statement.  He said from where the wealth came and how the money went out of the country to purchase the properties.  Justice Bandial said that the government has the law and it is given in the law. “We are waiting as you are reading everything but not replying to the court queries,” he said.

“You must check this in the law. It appears that you have not come across to the law which talks about the declaration of asset,” said the bench and added, “This shows the lack of preparation.” You are reading things which do not apply to the judge.