Observing that the action was taken by the previous government on “flimsy” and “baseless” grounds, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday ordered Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar to withdraw the curative review reference made against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court.
A decision in this regard had already been taken by the federal cabinet last year.
In a tweet today, the PM said that the curative review was based on “ill-will and meant to harass and intimidate the honorable Judge at the behest of Imran Niazi”.
Separately, PM Shehbaz claimed that Justice Isa and his family were “harassed and defamed” in the name of the reference in a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) today.
The statement mentioned the PM as saying, “This was not a reference, but a vendetta by Imran Khan Niazi, a vindictive person, against a fair-minded judge who followed the path of the Constitution and the law.”
Recalling that the PML-N and associated parties had denounced the action even when they were in opposition, he insisted that the reference was a wicked plot to undermine the independence of the courts.
“Imran Niazi misused the constitutional office of the president for this criminal act and President Arif Alvi became an instrument in the attack on the judiciary and an accomplice to a lie.”
The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), among other legal organisations across the nation, also expressed opposition to the reference in the PMO statement, saying that their views were respected.
The day before, Justice Isa, who will take over as chief justice in September, made headlines for a ruling he co-authored with Justice Aminuddin Khan of the Supreme Court, according to which the chief justice of Pakistan lacks the authority to create special courts or choose their members. They added that until they are addressed by legislation, hearings based on suo motu notices and cases of constitutional importance under Article 184(3) should be postponed.
The five-member panel dissolved as a result of Justice Khan’s decision to recuse himself from the Supreme Court’s hearing of the election delay case. Justice Khan cited the decision as his justification.