LAHORE: A petition challenging the appointment of the 58-year old Supreme Court arbiter Justice Qazi Faez Isa as Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court and later his elevation to the Apex Court on September 5, 2014 will now be heard at the floor of country's highest authority in the interpretation of the law.
Brief details of the petition:
On January 1, 2016, advocate Riaz Hanif Rahi had filed a petition with the top court under Article 184 (3) stating that both the appointments were made without following the process.
On March 14, 2016, the Supreme Court Registrar, while citing a judgment of the Supreme Court, had raised the objection to the petition stating that the petitioner had not sought enforcement of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution nor he approached any appropriate forum available to him.
The registrar had further said that the petitioner did also not provide any justification for not approaching an appropriate forum before turning to the apex court.
Referring to Order XVII Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules 1980, the registrar had stated that the petition, prima facie, appeared to be frivolous.
Justice Isa's remarks had pleased Nawaz Sharif recently:
About a week ago, ousted Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif had hailed Justice Isa's remarks about the verdict in the Panama Papers case.
The learned judge, while hearing a petition of a local PML-N activist seeking disqualification of MNA Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, had passed the remarks that the Panama Papers case involved four Avenfield flats in London of the Sharif family, but Mr Sharif was disqualified for holding an Iqama (work permit) of the United Arab Emirates.
Nawaz Sharif had termed Justice Isa's observation "not an ordinary" development.
While he was appearing at an accountability court to attend the trial proceedings in a reference filed against him and his children last Wednesday, the disqualified Pakistani Prime Minister had asserted: "The persons within the judiciary and from outside are commenting on the verdict. Before passing such an order like in the Panama Papers case, the judges should at least think whether this would be acceptable to the masses. The Apex Court’s bench consulted the Black Law Dictionary to justify the verdict against me. Neither I, nor the people of Pakistan have accepted the decision that removed me from the PM house for not receiving salary from my son."
In December 2017, Justice Qazi Faez Isa was part of the three-member Supreme Court bench that had dismissed the National Accountability Bureau's request to adjourn proceedings of the Rs 1.2 billion Hudaibiya Paper Mills corruption case till a new prosecutor general was appointed.
Justice Isa's remarks against NAB in Hudaibiya Paper Mills Case:
In January 2018, the detailed judgment in the above-cited Hudaibiya Paper Mills also stated that the NAB chairman seemed to have done nothing during the last four years to pursue the case.
Penned by Justice Isa, the verdict had admonished the corruption watchdog NAB's dilly-dallying on the matter, stating that the case seemed to have been kept pending for an indefinite period, which was "an insult to the legal process."
The court order also dismissed NAB's defence that Nawaz and Shahbaz had themselves been responsible for the delay in the case being pursued.
The decision further said the Sharif family was being deprived of their rights to defend themselves and that the sole purpose of the NAB reference was seemingly to pressurize the accused at a moment of the prosecutor's choosing.
In September 2017, Justice Isa was part of a three-member Supreme Court bench that had expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of Director General National Accountability Bureau (Balochistan) and Irfan Naeem Mangi, the member of the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT).
The bench had ruled that the anti-graft body had become a facilitator of corruption.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa's family background and professional achievements:
Justice Isa is the son of the late Qazi Mohammad Isa (1913-1976) of Pishin, a key leader of Pakistan Movement and the grandson of Qazi Jalaluddin, the Prime Minister of Kalat State.
Pakistan Postal Services had issued a commemorative postage stamp in Qazi Muhammad Isa's honor in its 'Pioneers of Freedom' series in 1990. He had also served as Pakistan's Ambassador to Brazil, research reveals. Justice Isa's cousin Ashraf Jahangir Qazi has been a Pakistani High Commissioner to India, Pakistan's Permanent Representative at the United Nations and United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative in Iraq.
The website of the Supreme Court of Pakistan states: "Justice Isa’s father was the first person from the province to acquire the Bar-at-Law degree and after his return from London helped establish the All India Muslim League in Balochistan and was nominated by Quaid-e-Azam as the President of the Provincial League and had the distinction of serving as the only member on the Central Working Committee of the All India Muslim League from Balochistan. Begum Saida Isa, Justice Isa’s mother was a dedicated social worker and worked in an honorary capacity on the boards of hospitals and other charitable organizations focusing on education, children and women’s health issues."
Having served as amicus curiae (Latin for phrase 'friend of the court') at the Supreme Court of Pakistan and country's high courts, Justice Isa has also conducted numerous international arbitrations.
The learned Supreme Court arbiter had also co-authored a book: "Mass media laws and regulations in Pakistan" and authored a widely-acclaimed report: "Balochistan: Case and Demand."
The Apex Court's website maintains: "After the proclamation of emergency of November 3, 2007, he elected not to appear before judges who had violated their oath. Subsequently, after the Supreme Court declared the action of November 3, 2007 unconstitutional, all the then judges of the High Court of Balochistan tendered their resignation, and on August 5, 2009 Justice Isa was directly elevated to the position of Chief Justice of the High Court of Balochistan. At the time of his elevation Justice Isa was the solitary judge in the High Court, he nominated judges all of whom were confirmed and thus reestablished the High Court of Balochistan."
The website adds: "He reopened the High Court at Sibi which had remained closed for a number of years, and acquired land for the construction of the High Court at Turbat and approved the design of its building. He then went on to upgrade all the courts in Balochistan focusing on facilitating access and providing facilities to the public. Justice Isa introduced a system of transparent induction of officials and officers in the High Court after advertising such posts. During his tenure a large number of vacant judicial posts in the subordinate judiciary were filled after advertising them and each applicant had to sit for a series of exams and acquire a minimum pass mark before being invited for an interview."
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