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SC reserves verdict on ex-IHC judge Siddiqui’s plea against dismissal

“If a judge is removed for giving a speech, then half of the judiciary will go home,” chief justice remarks

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SC reserves verdict on ex-IHC judge Siddiqui's plea against dismissal

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on former Islamabad High Court judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s plea challenging his dismissal from the post.   

A five-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Irfan Saadat Khan conducted proceedings on the plea.

After reserving the verdict, CJP Isa dictated order of the today’s proceedings in the open court.

The written verdict sought responses to questions raised during the court proceedings from parties in the case.

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In the order, the SC also questioned if the SJC conducted an inquiry.

“If the inquiry was not done under the Constitution and law, what would be the result?” the order stated.

The court also mentioned the former judge’s date of retirement in the order, according to which he has already reached his age of superannuation on June 30, 2021.

In its order, the SC asked the following questions:

What relief can be given if Shaukat Siddiqui’s appeal is approved?

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Can the Supreme Court refer the matter back to the Supreme Judicial Council?

Is the judge’s speech itself not against the code of conduct if council action is not required?”

The court asked the parties to submit their answers to the aforementioned questions within three weeks.

“If deemed necessary, further judicial action can be taken by the Supreme Court,” it stated.

Hearing

During the case hearing, CJP Isa said the problem is not the speech but its text in the case pertaining to the dismissal of former judge Siddiqui by the Supreme Judicial Council.

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The chief justice remarked that if a judge is removed for giving a speech, then half of the judiciary will go home.

“Many judges give speeches in bar council meetings. The problem is not the speech but the text of the speech,” he remarked.

“A judge’s code of conduct does not prevent him from speaking. The problem is when you make demands in your speech,” CJP added.

These remarks by the country’s top judge came during the resumption of the hearing of the ex-judge’s plea challenging his dismissal.

The proceedings were broadcast live on the apex court’s website as well as on its YouTube channel.

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Lawyer Hamid Khan is representing the former IHC judge in the case, while Khawaja Haris is the lawyer of former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General (retd) Faiz Hamid and Brigadier (retd) Irfan Ramay.

The case was fixed for hearing earlier this month after the judge filed a miscellaneous application with the Supreme Court to conduct an early hearing of his plea against the decision by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on his dismissal.

The chief justice said that judges also give interviews in Britain and participate in debates in the United States.

“The eyes of the entire nation are on us. Here is the question of respecting the constitutional institutions,” the chief justice stated, questioning what order should be issued by the bench in such circumstances.

Justice Mandokhail questioned if it was appropriate for a judge to have levelled the allegations in the way that Siddiqui did.

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“We should not forget the facts,” the CJP responded.

Justice Mandokhail asked: “If the allegations are true, was Shaukat Siddiqui’s procedure as a judge appropriate?”

The chief justice said there is no restriction on the judge’s speech. “If this were the case, many judges would have missed the speech. The problem is the points raised in the speech of Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.”

He asked if the court could investigate the matter itself. “Can the Supreme Judicial Council case be constitutionally remanded?”

Responding to CJP Isa, Hamid and Ramay’s lawyer said the case cannot be sent back to the SJC.

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“Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui is retired and cannot be reinstated as a judge,” he said, adding that the SJC can no longer look into his case.

In the last hearing of the case, held on December 14 last year, the apex court ordered former judge Siddiqui to nominate the ex-spy chief and others in the plea against his dismissal.

IHC judge removal

It must be noted that the former judge was removed from his position in the IHC for his speech targeting intelligence agencies when he was addressing the Rawalpindi Bar Association on July 21, 2018.

In his address, the ex-judge accused sensitive institutions of interfering in judicial work.

Multiple references were subsequently filed against him which included extra expenses on government residence, two related references against him passing remarks during hearing of the Faizabad sit-in case in 2017, another seeking his dismissal and one taken up by the SJC following on a complaint filed against him in the wake of the speeches.

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He was eventually dismissed from the post on October 11, 2018, after the SJC decided to dismiss him.

The judge then challenged his dismissal by the SJC in 2018 and his case has been ongoing ever since with the last hearing on the constitutional petition held on June 13, 2022.

Siddiqui, in his petition, requested to cancel the dismissal notification issued against him as an IHC judge.

The judge is being represented by senior lawyer Hamid Khan, while parties in the petition include the Islamabad Bar Association and Karachi Bar Association.

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Musadik Malik emphasises adoption of environment-friendly technology for sustainable development

Musadik Malik emphasises adoption of environment-friendly technology for sustainable development

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Musadik Malik emphasises adoption of environment-friendly technology for sustainable development

 Federal Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik underscores the need for embracing environment-friendly technology to ensure sustainable development in Pakistan. 

In a recent address at a ceremony held in Islamabad, Minister Malik highlighted the pressing issue of environmental instability, noting that despite a purported zero carbon footprint, Pakistan was grappling with the adverse effects of climate change. 

He pointed to alarming indicators such as rising global temperatures and increased incidents of extreme weather events, including flash floods in Sindh that have devastated numerous villages, exacerbating food insecurity in the region. 

Acknowledging the dual challenge of environmental and economic instability, Minister Malik stressed the imperative for concerted action to address these issues. 

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He revealed that Pakistan’s total exports stand at $30 billion, with energy exports comprising a significant portion at $20 billion. 

To confront these challenges head-on, Minister Malik announced plans to ramp up petroleum products production, citing its critical role in ensuring energy security and fostering economic growth. 

He outlined various policies aimed at facilitating this increase, including incentivising consortiums for small companies and fostering cooperation with international stakeholders.

Underlining the centrality of energy security to economic development, Minister Malik reiterated the importance of adopting environment-friendly technologies to meet the nation’s energy demands sustainably.

He emphasised the utilisation of national resources as a key strategy in this endeavour.

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Islamabad police register case of armed assault on PTI leader Raoof Hasan

Islamabad police register case of armed assault on PTI leader Raoof Hasan

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Islamabad police register case of armed assault on PTI leader Raoof Hasan

A day after unidentified transgender persons armed with blades wounded PTI leader Raoof Hasan in an attack in Islamabad, police on Wednesday registered a case of the assault. 

The case registered against unidentified transgender persons at the Aabpara police station includes sections related to the charges of attempted murder and death threats. 

According to the first information report (FIR), Raoof Hasan was heading to a parking lot after participating in a TV talk show when he was ambushed by three transgender-like persons. 

The FIR details that these attackers tried to cut his throat with a sharp-edged tool. Hasan suffered a cut in the face when he stepped back in a bid to protect himself, it adds. 

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In the FIR, Raoof Hasan alleged that a similar attack was attempted on him two days back in Islamabad’s Blue Area. 

The PTI information secretary was attacked on Tuesday afternoon by some unidentified transgender persons with a blade in Islamabad’s G-7 area. He suffered a cut in the face.

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JAP urges Punjab governor to return defamation bill unapproved

JAP urges Punjab governor to return defamation bill unapproved

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JAP urges Punjab governor to return defamation bill unapproved

The Judicial Activism Panel has penned a letter to Punjab Governor Sardar Salim Haider Khan, vehemently urging him not to approve the controversial Punjab Defamation Bill 2024 recently passed by the Punjab Assembly. 

The letter, authored by the Judicial Activism Panel, highlighted grave concerns over the Defamation Bill, asserting that its passage by the Punjab Assembly contradicts the principles outlined in Article 19 of the constitution. 

According to the panel, the enforcement of this bill poses a significant threat to the freedom of speech, a fundamental right guaranteed to every citizen. 

The panel argued that the implementation of the Defamation Bill would severely restrict the public’s access to vital information, serving as a formidable obstacle to the citizens’ right to information. 

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They emphasised that the bill, if enacted, would curtail the freedom of speech, thereby violating the fundamental right of the citizens.

Expressing apprehension, the letter said the law could potentially be exploited to serve political interests, further undermining the democratic principles upon which the nation is built.

In their fervent plea to Governor Sardar Salim Haider Khan, the Judicial Activism Panel demanded that he refrain from approving the bill and instead return it to the Punjab Assembly without his endorsement.

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