Justice Qazi Faez Isa is facing criticism from various quarters for his extraordinary move to attend parliament on the golden jubilee of the 1973 Constitution, but the senior judge justified his action by saying that the event was held to commemorate an important day in the country’s history.
PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry accused Justice Isa of showing partiality while paying a visit to parliament and sitting among politicians.
Talking to the media at the Lahore High Court, he demanded that Justice Isa should resign.
He continued that parliament had made a mockery of the top court and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s resignation was the only solution to all the crises being faced by the country.
He pointed out that PM Shehbaz claimed that his government had faced gigantic problems during this year.
Fawad added the premier should not tweet this as the government had passed this year not only violating the Constitution, but also human rights.
He also agreed with “table talks”, saying without negotiations, no political party could move ahead.
Besides the PTI leader, the Gujranwala District Bar also lashed out at Justice Isa for attending parliament and filed a complaint against him in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), seeking the judge’s removal from his post.
In its complaint, the Gujranwala Bar accused Justice Isa of “misconduct” and argued that the judge had violated the code of conduct by sitting among “corrupt” politicians.
It added that the Constitution called for a distinction between the judiciary and executive.
In his defence, Justice Isa issued a clarification, which read: “All the Judges of the Supreme Court were invited to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
He added that prior to accepting the invitation, inquiries were made as to whether there would be political speeches, and assurances were extended that only the Constitution and its making would be spoken about.
“The programme sent to me also confirmed this. Having cleared this point, first by my staff from the Deputy Director of the National Assembly, and then by me directly with the Speaker, I accepted the invitation as I wanted to show solidarity with the Constitution,” he continued.
The judge maintained that he had been asked if he would like to speak and he had declined. “However, when political statements were made (in a few of the speeches), I requested to speak to correct any misconceptions that may arise, and I did so,” he claimed.
Justice Isa expressed his surprise over some people objecting to where he sat as well as his presence at the function to commemorate the Constitution.
“I would have preferred to sit in the hall on one side or in the gallery, but respect was shown to a member of the judiciary by seating me at the centre; I did not choose to sit there,” he clarified.
The judge pointed out that the Constitution was unanimously enacted by the peoples’ directly elected representatives at all ends political spectrum and that testified to their sagacity.
“It affirmed the Founder’s motto of achieving success; Unity, Faith and Discipline. It established that even the most intractable problems can be solved with sincerity and motivation when the peoples’ interest is kept paramount. I may add that the elected representatives of the people are deserving of all respect. Without the politicians of the All India Muslim League, we would not have gained independence,” he wrote.
He noted that the organisers of the Convention had invited “all to commemorate a singularly important day in Pakistan’s history”.
“The Golden Jubilee of the Constitution is a celebration of all citizens; it is not the exclusive domain of any particular political party or institution. The significance of the Constitution must be impressed upon all, and this should be done continuously,” he added.
Also read: SC stands with Constitution: Justice Isa
The senior judge recalled that when Pakistan did not have a constitution enacted by the directly elected representatives of the people, the country broke apart.
“The lingering mistake was finally rectified 50 years ago and the peoples’ fundamental rights were recognised and enshrined in the Constitution. The salvation of all Pakistanis lies in adherence to the Constitution,” he highlighted.
Justice Isa further wrote that citizens were best served if seeds of discord were not planted.
“The making of the Constitution is one of the greatest moments in our history, which should be celebrated,” he concluded.