The reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has gone beyond income tax violation. After Justice Isa filed an application in the Supreme Court on Monday, where he sought rejection of the presidential reference against him and a declaration that the Chief Justice of Pakistan and other members of the Supreme Judicial Council were no longer competent to hear the complaint, his case has changed from a simple disciplinary action to invoking deeper questions.

Justice Isa’s new application clearly indicates that he is not mincing words in his case now. The honourable justice of the Supreme Court alleges that personal data, records and documents of his wife and children were probed, and their privacy violated. He also spoke of the independence of the judiciary being compromised.

While the application is certainly forceful, is adopting an antagonistic approach against the judiciary and censuring the esteemed Supreme Court bench the most effective way for Justice Isa to make his lamentations heard? Justice Isa may have legitimate grievances and he has the right to question any invasion of privacy or irregularity that may have occurred. Yet it should be questioned whether another petition, written in such confrontational language which delegitimises the judiciary, is the best way to resolve any issues amongst the judiciary. Justice Isa’s assertions of bias by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Khosa are also puzzling, and upsetting.

The painful truth is that until the main reference against Justice Isa is not concluded, this new petition will only muddy the waters further. While Justice Isa may be within his rights to protect SJC proceedings against him, but until he does not fight the reference to its end and show the money trail which will exonerate him from the charge of tax evasion, he will not be able to justify the criticism of the Supreme Judicial Council orders against him. Implicating and throwing allegations against the other judges of the Supreme Court are not a recommended way to proceed or to establish one is in the right.