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SC fixes Faizabad sit-in review pleas for hearing

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Just a week after taking the oath of his new office, Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa has fixed review petitions against the Faizabad Dharna case judgment, wherein intelligence agencies — the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Military Intelligence (MI) — and the army’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), were directed not to exceed their constitutional mandates.

A three-judge bench led by the CJ himself and comprising Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah — will take up the petitions on September 28 against the February 6, 2019 verdict.

The pleas were not taken up during the tenures of the last three chief justices: Asif Saeed Khosa, Gulzar Ahmed and Umar Ata Bandial.

Soon after the judgment in the Faizabad sit-in case in February 2019 was issued, unconfirmed news began to surface that the PTI-led government was planning to file a presidential reference against the outspoken Justice Isa.

During Justice Isa’s case hearing about an inquiry into three UK properties in the name of his wife and children, his counsel, Muneer A Malik, PTI-led federal government to file a presidential reference against him.

He said eight review petitions in the Faizabad sit-in case verdict by various political parties and organisations, including the PTI, MQM-P, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), IB and Defence Ministry (ISI).

“The review petitions were part of a coordinated exercise as all were saying that [the] observations in [the] SC judgment demoralised the armed forces,” Malik added.

Justice Isa’s counsel further said the content of the review petitions filed by the PTI and MQM was the same.

However, the PTI again filed its review petition when the SC registrar’s office objected to its language.

Malik told the court that both parties had accused Justice Isa of “misconduct” for giving his observations against the security establishment.

The ISI challenged the SC verdict in the Faizabad sit-in case, saying it would adversely affect the morale of the armed forces.

Through the Attorney General for Pakistan, Anwar Mansoor Khan, the ISI contended that the court’s observations would gather the impression that the armed forces and the premier intelligence agency were responsible for such “unconstitutional acts.”…

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