Islamabad (October 11, 2018): President Arif Alvi has removed Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui as a judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), a notification issued by the law ministry said on Thursday.
The president took the decision after the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) recommended his removal, the statement added.
A letter written by the SJC had emerged earlier in the day, in which the council, comprising five Supreme Court judges, had said it found Justice Siddiqui guilty of misconduct over a speech he delivered in July earlier this year before the Rawalpindi District Bar Association.“The council is unanimously of the opinion that in the matter of making his speech before the District Bar Association, Rawalpindi on [July 21] Mr. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui […] had displayed conduct unbecoming of a judge of a high court and was, thus, guilty of misconduct and he is, therefore, liable to be removed from his office under Article 209(6) of the Constitution,” the communication read.
While addressing an audience at the bar, Justice Siddiqui had claimed that personnel of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were manipulating judicial proceedings.
He had further claimed that the spy agency had approached IHC Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi and said: “‘We do not want to let Nawaz Sharif and his daughter come out [of the prison] until elections, do not include Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on the bench [hearing Sharifs’ appeals]’.”
Justice Siddiqui had offered no evidence to support the claims he made.The IHC judge was facing a reference over his controversial speech, the third reference filed against him.
On July 31, the SJC had issued a show-cause notice to Justice Siddiqui on the reference for making unnecessary and unwarranted comments at the Rawalpindi District Bar Association by accusing the establishment of manipulating the judicial proceedings.
The SJC took up the matter after considering that such comments prima facie had the tendency of undermining the respect otherwise due to such constitutional institutions.
The council did not consider another request of Justice Siddiqui to hold the proceedings of this reference in the open court.
The judge had been already facing a reference on misconduct earlier moved on the complaint by some retired employees of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for alleged refurbishment of his official residence beyond entitlement.
Likewise, a similar show-cause notice was issued to Justice Siddiqui under Article 209 (5)(6) of the Constitution by the SJC on a reference moved by Advocate Kulsum Khaliq on behalf of former member of the National Assembly Jamshed Ahmed Dasti alleging that the high court judge had, during one of the hearings on a case relating to the 20-day Faizabad sit-in, objected to a compromise between the federal government and the protesting Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah. The compromise was facilitated by the armed forces.
After scrutinising the reference, a meeting of the SJC held on Feb 6 observed that the judge was guilty of misconduct and should be issued a show-cause notice in this regard.