ISLAMABAD  -  The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has raised questions as to why Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, former judge of Islamabad High Court (IHC), met with the officials of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at his residence.

“Even if what he (Siddiqui) had asserted were to be accepted as correct still many questions beg answers. Why did he receive or entertain the army officers at his residence? Why did he not proceed against them for committing contempt? Why did he not take the Chief Justice of Pakistan into confidence in the matter? He instead chose to go to public in that connection for which he was not advised well,” stated the detailed reasoning of SJC recommending for removal of Siddiqui as a judge of high court.

The former judge of IHC has recently been removed on violation of Code of Conduct after the recommendation of SJC.

The SJC observed that there was no independent confirmation available of the claim of Siddiqui regarding meeting of Brigadier Irfan Ramay and Major General Faiz Hameed of ISI with him to decide particular cases in a particular manner.

The Council also observed that no evidence has been produced by Siddiqui to substantiate his claims regarding meddling in judicial work.

“Before launching a tirade against the entire judiciary of the country and proclaiming that the judiciary as a whole was under siege and institutional capture he did not appreciate that if he had refused to succumb to the stated pressure applied on him then others in the judiciary could also be as steadfast and resolute in the independence as he had claimed for himself.” The detailed reasons penned down by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa also answered to the question of general public as to why his allegations are not being probed thoroughly.

The SJC stated that the issue before it was not as to whether the allegations levelled by Siddiqui in his speech against the superior judiciary and some other judicial and other constitutional institutions of the country were correct or not but the question before the Council was whether a senior serving judge of a High Court ought to have levelled such allegations at a public form or not, particularly when his speech was being covered by many television channels.

“In the Council’s view the mandate of the Council was to look into the propriety or otherwise of the conduct of Siddiqui in making such speech at a public forum and the issue as to why he did that or what were his intentions in doing that were not within the scope of the inquiry being conducted by the Counil and, thus, it was for him to justify his conduct vis-à-vis levelling such allegations at a public forum.”

It added that except for the interview of former Chief Justice Nasim Hassan Shah and former President General (R) Pervez Musharraf containing some admissions, no instance was quoted by Siddiqui in order to establish that the judiciary of this country as a whole was under siege or an institutional capture at present.

“Wild and pervasive allegations were levelled by him against the entire judiciary of the country without appreciating that thousands of Judges at all levels of the judiciary are performing their duties and discharging their functions in every nook and corner of the country honestly, fairly and completely independently and Siddiqui claims to be one of them.”

“Throwing restraint and caution to the wind, Justice Siddiqui had been reckless in his allegations in this regard.”

The SJC next stated that a Judge, and that too of a High Court, is expected to be quite circumspect and careful in his remarks about other Judges and judicial verdicts adding that his views on former chief justice Muhammad Munir and on his verdicts could be based upon personal views but he was not expected to voice the same at a public forum in such a derogatory manner.

Siddiqui failed to refer to any material in support if his allegations levelled against the former chief justice, it states.

“Some of the matters indirectly and obliquely referred to by Justice Siddiqui pertained to judicial decisions relating to constitutional and political development in the country in the past and making of a comment on political matters falls in the forbidden zone for a Judge.”

Siddiqui also failed to appreciate that some of the chief justices mentioned by him had already passed away and they could not respond to his allegations, the detailed reasons read.

“It appears that in his desire for publicity of this own virtues he outran his own discretion and in the process he tried to cut down the very branch on which he was himself perched.”

No specific instance had been mentioned by him in support of his allegation regarding   ISI’s involvement in manipulation of judicial proceedings.

“By levelling such a sweeping allegation at a public forum in the absence of any material to support it Justice Siddiqui had exposed his own lack of sagacity and restraint required of a Judge of a High Court.”

The allegation levelled by Siddiqui against the chief justice IHC regarding ISI’s influence in constitution of benches also indirectly cast an aspersion upon the division bench of IHC which was to hear the case of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his daughter.

“The innuendo was that any Bench of the Court other than that of Justice Siddiqui was to be a Bench with which ISI was ‘comfortable’ or ‘at ease’. Imputing lack of honesty or independence to his own brother Judges in the same Court, and that too publicly, is by itself a misconduct warned against by the Code of Conduct in explicit terms.”

“Nothing could be more damaging to the judicial system of a country than an allegation being levelled by a Judge of High Court that the Apex Court of the country was controlled from outside.”

Siddiqui levelled the allegation against the top court and all its judges and such recklessness and irresponsible conduct of a Judge of a High Court is not countenanced by any standard of judicial propriety and the Code of Conduct in this country is no exception in that regard.

He also failed to provide any detail about the allegations regarding monitoring of Sharifs’ trials in accountability court by ISI.

“It is sad that instead of believing in the independence of the most senior judges of the country manning the Supreme Judicial Council Justice Siddiqui had opted to believe an official of ISI who had statedly met and tried to allure him and it is sadder that Justice Siddiqui had gone public with such newfound but totally unsubstantiated information.”

“A Judge of a High Court is expected to be wise and not fickle of understanding and his is not expected to accept any threat or inducement as real or correct at its face value and then to rush to the publich with an announcement.

“A Judge so apprehensive of the influence or power of an intelligence agency or conceding the same to the agency demonstrates a weakness on his character rather than strength and this aspect raises many questions.”

It is clear from the discussion made above that except for a few specific instances where Justice Siddiqui had statedly met some officials or operatives of ISI at his residence in Islamabad no other specific detail or information was provided by him regarding any other allegation levelled by him.”

“All the other allegations levelled by him were couched in generalized and unspecific terms and personal views about working of some institutions.