ISLAMABAD  -   The Supreme Judicial Council has issued notice to the government through Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) for June 14 over government’s references against apex court judge Qazi Faez Isa and Sindh High Court judge KK Agha, sources said.

According to the reference Justice Isa allegedly has not declared his Spanish spouse’s three foreign properties in his wealth statement under Income Tax Ordinance. These properties were purchased between 2011 and 2015 in London, sources claimed.

Similar allegation has been levelled against SHC’s Justice Agha that he has not declared his foreign assets in his wealth statement.

According to Section 7(4) of Supreme Judicial Council Procedure of Enquiry 2005, the member of the council may recommend action against the person who initiated the information which stands false during the scrutiny.

On the other hand, Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) has condemned the government reference and has decided to resist any move against Justice Isa.

“We will resist the government if it goes further against the Man of Integrity and it is our resolve that we will stand with judiciary,” SCBAP President Amanullah Kanrani told a press conference.

Accompanied by their executive committee members on the occasion, he said that no institution of the country should scandalise a judge. He however said that the procedure should take its course, but the character assassination of the judge through media should be stopped.

Kanrani said there can be no question on the dignity of Justice Isa keeping in view his family background.

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the apex body of lawyers of the country, is also considering calling its general house meeting to convey a strong message to the government that it should not follow the path of confrontation with the judges and the judiciary.

PBC Vice Chairman Syed Amjad Shah while talking to The Nation said that the legal fraternity of the country shall stand with Justice Isa and the judiciary. They are considering holding a general house meeting on June 12, he added.

He further said that Justice Isa is a man of integrity and he works with an independent mind. They were not against genuine references but Justice Isa was being victimised, he added.

A day ago, Justice Isa sent a letter to President of Pakistan Arif Alvi stating that the selective leaks against him were aimed at his character assassination. “Selective leaks amount to character assassination, jeopardise my right to due process and fair trial and undermine the institution of judiciary,” he said in his one-page letter.

“I am confident that you will agree that if a reference has been filed and I have been called upon to submit a reply, only then to the permission of the Supreme Judicial Council, the government may disclose the reference and my response thereto,” he said.

The same day Additional Attorney General Zahid Fakharuddin Ibrahim had also tendered his resignation to record his protest and termed the references against the judges of superior courts an attempt to tar reputation of the judges.

Advocate Ibrahim said the action by the government reeked of ulterior motives and belied the claims of accountability.

His resignation letter to the president stated that filing of purported references was not about accountability but a reckless attempt to blot the reputation of independent individuals and browbeat the judiciary of Pakistan.

“Unless resisted, it will cause irreparable damage to the institution which is the protector of our fundamental rights and the bedrock of our fledgling democracy,” the resignation letter stated.