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November 27, 2019

Gen Bajwa's extension: Who is the petitioner?

Top Story

November 27, 2019

Riaz Rahi

ISLAMABAD: It has been a pattern in recent times of heating judicial activism that an intriguing individual comes up with a petition on burning political/ constitutional issue and triggers a debate and suddenly disappears.

Same was repeated on Tuesday when a petitioner threw almost certain extension/ re-appointment of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in doubt. It was Riaz Rahi who challenged General Bajwa’s tenure first and later moved an application to withdraw the petition but the top judge, however, rejected the plea, observing it fell into the domain of public interest under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

In April 2018, Riaz Rahi challenged appointment of Justice Qazi Faez Isa as judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The timing and ground of the petition against the Chief of Army Staff was very important as General Qamar Javed Bajwa has to retire tomorrow, Nov 28, 2019. Similarly, the timing of filing petition against Justice Qazi Faez Isa as the SC judge and his appointment as the Balochistan High Court chief justice in August 2009 looked like one such effort to undermine the credibility of a jurist who otherwise was known to be as an upright man among the legal fraternity. Now judge Faez Isa is facing a trial in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) as well as in the apex court.

In March 2018, Riaz Rahi filed two contempt petitions against ex-premier Nawaz Sharif. On Dec 2013, the IHC rejected Riaz Rahi’s petition challenging the constitution of a special court for the treason trial of former president Musharraf. On July 10, 2017, Riaz Rahi filed a petition seeking a halt on transfers and postings of all public servants on the directions of then PM Nawaz Sharif until the final decision of the Panama case was announced in the apex court. All petitions were dismissed and this list goes on with Justice Faez Isa’s fine of Rs10, 000 imposed on Aug 13, 2015. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Shaukat Siddiqui imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on Riaz Rahi in 2014 and then after a few months, Justice Athar Minallah of the IHC fined him Rs10,000 on filing frivolous petitions challenging the judicial policy and electoral system of the country and for withdrawal of security from former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Justice Sheikh Hakim Ali of the Lahore High Court, Bahawalpur bench, had jailed Riaz Rahi for one month for contempt of court and also fined Rs30,000 in 2005 when he, during the hearing of his case, misbehaved with the judge. In March 2010, Riaz Rahi challenged reinstatement and appointment of the then CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justices Ghulam Rabbani and Khalilur Rehman Ramday but later his entry into SC premises was temporarily blocked. On Dec 17, 2013, Riaz Rahi challenged the creation of a special court to try former president Pervez Musharraf for high treason in the IHC. On April 15, 2009, Riaz Rahi filed a writ petition in the IHC challenging the notification of Justice Sheikh Hakim Ali as a Supreme Court judge. On August 8, 2017, Riaz Rahi lodged petition against ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s order of forming a committee to probe MNA Ayesha Gulalai’s allegations in the IHC.

Riaz Rahi, despite repeated attempts made by The News to take his viewpoint, did not respond.

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