Funds distribution among MPs: Justice Isa questions procedure adopted by SC for releasing order

Justice Qazi Faez

Justice Qazi Faez Isa has questioned the procedure, adopted by the Supreme Court, for releasing its order on Feb 11 in a matter relating to the alleged announcement of prime minister regarding the distribution of Rs500 million development funds among parliamentarians ahead of the Senate elections.
A five-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umer Ata Bandial, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Ijazul Ahsen, on Feb 11, disposed of an instant case after the federal government denied distributing any funds among the lawmakers.
The court order, written by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, had restrained Justice Qazi Faez Isa from hearing cases involving the prime
minister. On Saturday, Justice Isa, in a letter, written to SC Registrar, stated that an order was passed by the apex court and released to the media before sending to him.
“I have learnt that an order/ judgment [don’t know which one] was passed in the subject case on Feb 11, 2021, and released to the media. This is shocking since as yet, I have not received the file with the order/ judgment,” Justice Isa said.
He added that it was a settled practice that after the judge heading the bench [in this case the Chief Justice] writes the order/ judgment; it is sent to the next senior judge, and so on. However, Justice Iajazul Ahsen apparently received it, but he never did, and the world knows it before he has seen it.
Justice Isa asked as to why the order/ judgment was not sent to him and why the settled practice of sending it to the next senior judge was not followed.
“Why the instant order was released to the media before I read it [let alone had the opportunity to sign it in agreement/ disagreement], Justice Isa asked.
He asked as to who ordered for its release to the media, adding that he should be provided the case file so that he finally could read the order/ judgment.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, on February 11, asked Justice Qazi Faez Isa not to hear cases involving the prime minister. The court issued a written order late Thursday night in the case related to release of Rs500 million each to lawmakers, directed by the prime minister on account of development funds, ahead of the Senate elections.
“In these circumstances, it would not be proper for the judge to hear the matter considering that he had already filed a petition against the prime minister of Pakistan, in his personal capacity,” says the written order issued by CJ Gulzar Ahmed.
The CJ further noted that in order to uphold the principle of un-biasness and impartiality, it would be in the interest of justice that the judge (Justice Isa) should not hear matters involving the prime minister of Pakistan. The court noted that (Qazi Faez Isa, J.) sought to place on record photocopies of certain documents reportedly received by him from some anonymous source through a WhatsApp message. The copies of ‘those’ documents were handed over by the judge to other members of the bench. A copy was also handed over to the learned attorney general for Pakistan. The judge (Qazi Faez Isa, J) also stated that he was unsure if the documents were genuine.