Marking an unprecedented moment in the history of oath-taking ceremonies in Pakistan, the newly-appointed Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa affirmed to lead the country's judiciary, as his wife, Sarina Isa, stood next to him on Sunday.
This symbolic gesture of inviting his wife on stage during the ceremony's crucial proceeding left many intrigued, as he read out his oath promising to ensure justice, uphold the rule of law and abide by the country's Constitution from today until October 25 next year.
In 2019, President Dr Arif Alvi had filed a presidential reference against CJP Isa, — quashed by the apex court in June 2020 — for failing to disclose properties abroad. However, both the chief justice and his family, particularly his wife, were inquired in the case.
The top court issued the detailed verdict in January 2022, stating that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) obtained the tax records of the judge and his family in an "unlawful" manner.
Meanwhile, the gesture by the Supreme Court's top judge has garnered immense praise for breaking away from traditions and conveying the important message that women are equal partners.
Sherry Rehman, the former climate change minister and PPP leader, said the act by CJP Isa "sends out an important message", highlighting the importance of equality and partnership with regard to women.
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, the politician wrote: "Good to see Justice Qazi Faez Issa ask his wife to also stand with him for his oath taking. Sends out an important message re women and partnerships and equality."
Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former planning minister, termed it a "commendable tradition".
"Her [Sarina] courage and bravery in facing the conspiracy intended to prevent the chief justice from taking [the oath of] office today are highly commendable. Surely, Allah honours whomever He wills," Iqbal posted on X.
Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, the president of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT), also appreciated the act by the newly-appointed top judge on the microblogging site.
"J[ustice] Qazi Faez Isa broke with tradition & made his wife stand beside him while taking oath as 29th CJP. Thanks & Proud of you J. Isa for conveying the strong message that women are equal partners & need to be recognised as such," he wrote.
Husain Haqqani, former Pakistan ambassador to the United States, said this was a message to those who unjustly harassed Justice Isa's wife "to try and get J Isa to step down from the bench".
Reacting to Sarina Isa's presence on the stage, senior journalist Mariana Baabar said: "Begum Serena Issa being harassed for her tax returns attends court with a walking stick, even when her father passed away she was in court."
Lauding the symbolic moment, she added: "And today…perseverance is the best revenge. Mubarak Begum Sahiba!"
Senior anchorperson Asma Sherazi also termed it "an iconic pic and a message too".
Another user on X called Justice Isa gesture "brilliant".
Another anchorperson, Qamber Zaidi, praised Sarina for fighting court battles alongside her husband and enduring tough times. He wrote how the couple has emerged victorious despite the "conspiracy" against them.
"The ones who plotted against them have now stepped down, and today, Justice Qazi Faez Isa takes the oath with his life partner by his side, becoming the 29th Chief Justice of the country. There are signs in this for those who reflect," the journalist wrote.
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