Arif Alvi administers the oath of Justice Qazi Faez Isa flanked by his wife Sarina Isa at a ceremony held at the President House in Islamabad on Sunday.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa was sworn in as the 29th chief justice of the Supreme Court on Sunday. He was administered the oath of office by President Arif Alvi during a ceremony in Islamabad.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul Haq Kakar and Chief of Army Staff Asim Munir were in attendance besides top court judges Justice Ayesha Malik, Justice Shahid Waheed, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Yayha Afridi.
The ceremony began with the recitation of the Holy Quran, following which the notification for Justice Isa’s appointment was read out. The president then administered the oath to Justice Isa, whose wife Sarina Isa stood by his side. His term in office as the CJP will span 13 months, ending on Oct.25, 2024. Notably, Justice Isa is the second CJP to hail from Balochistan after Iftikhar Chaudhry.
Born in Quetta on Oct.26, 1959, Justice Isa is the son of the late Qazi Mohammad Isa of Pishin, who was in the forefront of the Pakistan Movement and a close associate of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Justice Isa’s father was the first person from the province to acquire the Bar-at-Law degree and helped establish the All India Muslim League in Balochistan after his return from London. His father had served 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 social worker and worked in an honorary capacity on the boards of hospitals and other charitable organisations which focused on education, children and women’s health issues.
After completing his primary and secondary education in Quetta, Isa moved to Karachi to finish his ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels from the Karachi Grammar School (KGS). He then went on to study law from London, where he completed his Bar Professional Examination from the Inns of Court School Law, London.
Justice Isa enrolled as an Advocate of the Balochistan High Court on January 30, 1985, and as an Advocate Supreme Court in March 1998. He practised law for over 27 years before the High Courts, the Federal Shariat Court and the Supreme Court. He became a member of the Balochistan High Court Bar Association, Sindh High Court Bar Association and Life Member of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.
From time to time, he was called upon by the High Courts and the Supreme Court as amicus curiae and rendered assistance in certain complicated cases. He has also conducted international arbitration. Justice Isa took oath as a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on September 5, 2014.
The biggest challenge Justice Isa may encounter during his tenure as the chief justice would be unifying the court and restoring the court’s credibility, so that no one could point a finger at the court’s judgements.
The perceived practice of the formation of a particular bench consisting of ‘like-minded judges’ to hear constitutional matters of public importance has become the basis of criticism of the top judiciary.
There has been a general feeling that senior judges were being left out in the formation of benches for desired outcomes of the proceedings.
On his first day at the helm on Monday, Justice Isa will take up a set of challenges to the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 - a bill that requires the formation of benches on constitutional matters of public importance by a committee of three senior judges.
An eight-judge bench headed by the outgoing chief justice on April 13 suspended the enforcement of the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Act, 2023.
In a statement, a Justice Isa-led commission had earlier questioned the formation of a bench that was hearing a set of six challenges against the probe body formed to look into the audio leaks, saying that the bench hearing the matter was not determined by a three-member committee of judges as required under the suspended act.
Since the petitions challenging the audio commission were not fixed before the bench constituted by the committee of judges; therefore, these petitions cannot be heard until the committee determines which bench should hear them, the commission had stated.
On June 3, Justice Isa decided not to sit on a nine-judge bench hearing cases on the trial of civilians by the military courts, saying he did not want to violate the suspension of the law; until the court decides about the vires of the practice and procedure law he will not sit on the benches. As a result, Justice Isa chose to do chamber work instead of holding court hearings.
The biggest test Justice Isa may face as the chief justice, according to a senior counsel who wished not to be named, will come when the controversy regarding general elections within 90 days of the dissolution of the national and provincial assemblies may land in the Supreme Court.
In addition, he will also have to maintain a working relationship with the executive. President Alvi asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to seek guidance from the Supreme Court on holding general elections on the same day.
About the pending hearing on the trial of civilians by the military courts, the counsel explained that the case may not be his individual challenge but of the entire court, and since Justice Isa had already expressed his opinion in an earlier case, he might even choose to sit on the bench.
In a dissenting judgement against military courts in August 2015, Justice Isa observed the 21st Amendment does not succeed in its attempt to try civilians by the military and that the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, which if implemented would help to stem terrorism and also ensure the conviction of terrorists.
To determine how Justice Isa will conduct his business at the Supreme Court, the senior lawyer said he "understands the dynamics clearly” as he remained the top judge of the Balochistan High Court from 2009 to 2014 - a very sensitive period when military operations were ongoing in Balochistan. Another challenge for Justice Isa will also be how to tackle the whopping pendency of over 56,000 cases.
The development came after the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) in a meeting headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial unanimously approved elevating the Peshawar chief justice to the Supreme Court, officials said.
'It is a majority consensus decision to telecast live," Isa said at the start of proceedings shown live by PTV. Previous attempts to broadcast proceedings live had been blocked by the court. The broadcast was shown uninterrupted by all major TV channels.
"I want to congratulate Justice Ayesha Malik on becoming the first woman judge of the Supreme Court," Prime Minister Imran Khan said. "I wish her all the best," he added on Twitter.
"Whoever changes the status of persons, locations, or things, or conceals the evidence of a crime or knowingly gives false information about the same, for the purpose of misleading the court shall be sentenced to imprisonment."
The disaster struck the northeastern coastal town of Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas state, with a Red Cross rescuer telling local media that 80 people had been in attendance at the Santa Cruz parish when the roof caved in.
The victim stated that he arrived at the place for dinner and as soon as he finished, he went to the water closet to wash and left his belongings on the table.
The blaze ripped through the multistory police headquarters in the Suez Canal province of Ismailia, according to Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry.
Two attackers detonated a bomb near government buildings in Turkey's capital on Sunday morning. Both attackers were killed and two police officers were wounded. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.