ISLAMABAD, (MANEND NEWS): In a show of solidarity, judges of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and senior puisne judge Qazi Faez Isa, participated in a plantation ceremony at the court premises on Friday.
A pleasant conversation between the CJP and Justice Isa also reportedly took place during the plantation. In addition to the two, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Athar Minallah were also in attendance.
The judges prayed after planting flowers together. CJP Bandial prayed, “May Allah bless everyone and [in particular] our institution”.
Earlier, the CJP had lamented that efforts were being made from outside to divide the judiciary. However, little had been done to combat the atmosphere of mistrust among the SC judges.
Later in the evening, Justice Isa issued a clarification to reject some reports in the media that he did not greet the chief justice or shake his hand at the ceremony.
“Mr. Justice Iqbal Hameed Ur Rahman took oath as the Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court yesterday (1 June 2023). Immediately after the conclusion of the ceremony I went first to greet and congratulate his wife where I met Mr. Justice Umar Ata Bandial and greeted him. Then I proceeded to greet Justice Rahman,” he wrote.
“Later, I went to talk to Dr. Syed Muhammad Anwer, a former Aalim Judge of the FSC, when Mr. Justice Bandial came to greet him too. Someone recorded this moment, and incorrectly added that I had not greeted Justice Bandial, even though just a few minutes earlier I had done so.
Justice Rahman’s wife wanted to introduce me to some of her family members, which was the reason I turned,” he added.
The judge of the top court said that some erroneous interpretations have appeared in the media of the events at the ceremony. “I request that factually incorrect stories should not be propagated, as they cause unnecessary and avoidable misgivings and harm. My family and I can attest to the pain of being the brunt of sponsored false stories in the recent past,” he wrote, quoting a verse from the Holy Quran, “Ascertain its truthfulness carefully (before you spread it) lest you harm people through your own ignorance’ (Al-Qur’an, 49:6)”.
Justice Isa further shrugged off the impression of divisions in the top judiciary. “It is also factually incorrect to add in the same breath, that I have intentionally created a separate group within the Supreme Court. This is completely untrue. I stand by my oath of office, to defend and uphold the Constitution of Pakistan and cannot concur with anything less. Garnishing facts to create a controversial narrative is damaging to the institution.”
“Let us not be detracted, let us work together to build a strong judicial system which focuses on the administration of expeditious justice,” he added.
Divisions within SC – on the composition of benches, listing of cases and appointment of superior court judges – had widened since February when the court invoked its suo motu jurisdiction and took notice of the delay in the announcement of polls in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
However, cracks appeared in the apex court when a full court took up Justice Isa’s petition against a presidential reference that accused him of hiding his family members’ foreign assets and sought his removal.
To date, analysts had maintained that CJP Bandial had not been able to end the perception that he only includes his “like-minded” judges in benches hearing political matters. Two senior most SC judges —including Justice Isa — have been continually ignored during the formation of benches hearing sensitive cases.
However, today during the interaction the judges gave the impression that there were no differences between them.
At one point, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah suggested that both the CJP and Justice Isa plant a sapling together, to which they happily complied.
Justice Isa was also seen jokingly asking why Justice Shah did not “get his hands dirty” after planting a sapling himself. Upon this Justice Shah showed his hands and said “see for yourself, I have dirt on them”.