The complainant against Supreme Court Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Amna Malik, failed to answer a series of questions posed during the Supreme Judicial Council proceedings into the reference on Monday, November 20, leading to the SJC terming her ‘unreliable’ and ‘untrustworthy’ .

During the hearing, the Supreme Judicial Council had asked Amna Malik a number of questions, most of which she could either not answer or could at best vague answers to. After the Monday proceedings, the SJC ended up dismissing the complaint against Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, having found it lacked substance. The order to this effect was issued by the five-member bench of the SJC led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa.The complainant against Justice Sardar Tariq Masood — Mrs Amna Malik — was first asked by the SJC whether she knew lawyer M Azhar Siddique. On the complainant answering in the affirmative, the SJC then asked her how she knew said lawyer. The complainant replied that she knew M Azhar Siddique as a well-known practising lawyer.The SJC then asked Malik if her husband — Abdullah Malik — was a junior associate of M Azhar Siddique. When she replied yes, they asked her if she or her husband had ever provided a copy of her complaint [against Justice Sardar Tariq Masood] to Azhar Siddique. The vague answer: “I dont know”.When asked who had drafted her complaint against Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Malik said her “team’ had, but then when pressed on what she meant by ‘team’, the complainant refrained from answering.Amna Malik was asked by the SJC whether she was satisfied with the reply provided [in response to her complaint] by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood; she said yes she was “since he has also attached all the documents with his reply”.Malik, however, refused to answer the question of where she had gotten the copy of the FBR order [termed Exhibit C-2 in the proceedings] that she had referred to in her complaint and attached with her letter.To a question regarding income tax, the complainant said neither she nor her husband paid income tax. And when asked whether the organization — Civil Society Network Pakistan — of which she calls herself ‘president’, was registered, she said yes but then failed to answer under which law the society was registered and whether she could provide documents to prove the registration — “I must have [documents of registration] but do not have it now”.Apparently, the Civil Society Network Pakistan, which Amna Malik claims she is president of, also does not have a bank account nor does it receive funding. All this was revealed during the Q&A by the SJC which also asked Malik how many members her society [Civil Society Network Pakistan] had. The reply was: “I do not know”. But then when asked if she could name any other — even one — member of her society, Malik said she was the only member.The Supreme Judicial Council was not the only one asking the questions on Monday. Justice Sardar Tariq Masood also had the opportunity to ask the complainant some questions.His first question — “on whose behest [are you] acting?” — elicited no response by Malik. His second question on whether Amna Malik or her husband have a Twitter [now ‘X’] account garnered a response: “I don’t have [a Twitter account] and I don’t know about my husband”. Justice Tariq Masood’s last question was about lawyer M Azhar Siddique: “Please see the tweet of M Azhar Siddique which has been attached with my reply, and tell [us] how he knew about your complaint.” The complainant responded that this was a question only Azhar Siddique could answer.The result of the Q&A by the SJC was the dismissal of the complaint, with the council finding the complainant to be not just “unreliable” but also “untrustworthy”, untruthful when answering many questions and withholding information. It may be recalled that in August this year, Mrs Amna Malik had lodged this complaint against Justice Sardar Tariq Masood in the Supreme Judicial Council, citing alleged financial misconduct. Meanwhile, the Supreme Judicial Council is set to continue its hearing into the reference against Supreme Court Justice Sayyed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi today.

Civilians’ trial in military courts: Punjab also files plea against SC verdict

The Punjab province on Tuesday also filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against its judgment declaring unconstitutional the trials of civilians in military courts and prayed to set aside the impugned judgment passed on October 23, 2023.

Punjab filed an intra-court appeal in the apex court through chief secretary under Section 5 of the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act, 2023.

On October 23, a five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsen and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha A Malik, had declared trial of civilians in the military courts as unconstitutional.

The bench held 103 persons and others, who may be placed in relation to the events arising from May 9 and May 10 incidents, could be tried by criminal courts established under the ordinary or special law of the land.

A policeman walks past the Supreme Court building in Islamabad in this undated photo — AFP/File

In its appeal, the Punjab government questioned as to whether in absence of any findings viz the question of jurisdiction and maintainability of the petitions ahead of all any questions, renders the impugned order liable to be set aside on this score alone.

It questioned whether the petitioners had made out a case for invoking the extra-ordinary constitutional jurisdiction of this court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. “Whether the learned bench was justified in striking down provisions of the Army Act without identifying inconsistency with fundamental rights or other constitutional provisions,” the Punjab government further questioned. It submitted the incidents of May 9, 2023 involve targeted attacks on several military installations and establishments across the country in an organised and coordinated manner. The attacks were neither localised nor isolated, it added. “The events of May 9 indicate a premediated and intentional attempt to undermine the country’s armed forces and inhibit the country’s internal security,” the Punjab government submitted. It contended as a consequence of the events of May 9, several FIRs were registered against the perpetrators, while some of the FIRs do not explicitly mention the provisions of the Army Act. “This court has held that it is the contents of an FIR, and not the mentioning of a particular statutory provision which determines the nature of offences made out,” it said. It submitted trials under the Army Act were not sought to be conducted against all the persons arrested, who were involved in violence on May 9, but only those concerned individuals who strictly fall within the offences stipulated in the Official Secrets Act. “Specifically, only those individuals, who infiltrated a prohibited place or committed other like offences within the meaning of Official Secrets Act, are being prosecuted under the Army Act,” it added.

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