LAHORE/Islamabad  -   Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday observed that justice will be done with Islamabad High Court Justice Shaukat Siddiqui like any aggrieved.

The top judge observed this while hearing suo motu notice and a petition seeking action against Justice Siddiqui, at the Supreme Court Lahore registry.

“Injustice in any form will not be administered to the aggrieved judge,” CJP Nisar remarked – after he read out the oath he had taken while assuming his position as judge of the superior court.

Addressing a book-launch at the Lahore High Court Bar Association later, CJP said the judiciary is under serious allegations.

He said efforts were being made to malign judiciary and it would be disastrous for the country if this institution is weakened.

“It is my promise that I won’t let democracy be affected and elections will be held on time,” Justice Saqib said. He also hoped and prayed that the country gets best leadership.

“[I] wish Pakistan gets a good leader.... who could bring back the era of caliph Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA). There would be no need of this judicial activism then,” the CJP remarked.

Talking about Kalabagh and Bhasha dams, he said those were not built due to the conspiracies. He said water is life and therefore the Supreme Court passed orders [for construction of dams]. He said they would also bring cloud seeding technology to Pakistan to fulfil our water needs.

The chief justice said he took suo motu notices to fill the gaps created by the governments. "I am a very humble person. I am not arrogant at all. I will continue my efforts to dispense justice in accordance with constitutional and prevalent laws,” he said, adding that “the judges have pledged to maintain supremacy of constitution and parliament”.

Justice Saqib praised the book author, Justice (r) Fakhurun Nisa Khokhar, and said she was subjected to discrimination for being a woman.

Justice Nisa, during Musharraf’s era, was the senior puisne judge of Lahore High Court but she was bypassed and a junior judge Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry was made LHC chief justice.

The CJP expressed the hope that this trend would be ended soon when Justice Tahira Safdar assumes the position of the chief justice of Balochistan High Court.

Meanwhile, Chief Saqib Nisar on Monday directed IHC Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Kasi to offer his comments on the veracity of allegations levelled against him by Justice Siddiqui.

“The allegations levelled in the speech cast aspersions and malign the superior judiciary of the country and berate its independence. It also implicates Hon’ble Chief Justice, Islamabad High Court and some other national institutions,” said a press statement issued by the top court's office in Islamabad.

The press statement issued from the Supreme Court said that the IHC chief justice had also been asked to obtain material and evidence from Justice Siddiqui available with him, if any, to substantiate the allegations levelled in the speech.

“Such material/evidence (if any) and the comments of the Hon’ble Chief Justice will be transmitted to the Office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan for consideration and appropriate action, if necessary,” it said.

According to the press statement, the transcript and record of the speech has been obtained. It said that the orders of the chief justice of Pakistan had been conveyed to the IHC’s registrar.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) passed a resolution demanding the constitution of a full-court bench for hearing the top court’s suo moto notice concerning Justice Siddiqui’s allegations.

The resolution was passed on a suggestion floated by PBC’s senior member Raheel Kamran Sheikh.

“As you (PBC) must be aware by now of the controversy engendered by the speech of Mr Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, which justifiably raises concerns of all members of the legal fraternity as the same carries with it the potential to shake the faith and confidence of the people of Pakistan in the independence and impartiality of the courts,” advocate Sheikh had written to the council.

“The chief justice of Pakistan has taken suo moto on the subject. For ensuring the independence of the judiciary and dignity of the court, I feel that it is imperative for us all that we demand the constitution of a larger bench comprising full Supreme Court [judges] to hear this important case,” he suggested to the PBC.

Advocate Sheikh told this scribe that Justice Siddiqui’s allegations that he was excluded from the bench, hearing Sharif’s appeals, was an expression discrediting and attacking the independence and impartiality of the two judges of IHC hearing the appeals.

“I don’t know the reality about fixation of cases, however, the bar has been demanding that the discretionary powers of the chief justice to constitute benches and fix cases should properly be structured by introducing suitable amendments to the high court and the Supreme Court rules.”

PBC former vice-chairman Ahsan Bhoon said that there was no credibility and authenticity in the claims of Justice Siddiqui. “The entire speech is a very well-planned move to benefit certain individuals and in my view, Shaukat Siddiqui, who is already facing a reference before Supreme Judicial Council, has tried to take political forces as a shield,” Bhoon said, adding Justice Siddiqui has not only attempted to take benefit for him through the speech but he also voiced his opinion of a political party.

Bhoon considered the allegations of Justice Siddiqui as an international conspiracy against the country, the judiciary and other institutions including the military establishment.

Bhoon said the speech of Justice Siddiqui was against the code of conduct of judges. He said if SJC did not decide the reference against Justice Siddiqui expeditiously, then it would be tantamount to weakening the institution by its members.

 

FIDA HUSSNAIN & SYED

SABEEHUL HUSSNAIN