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‘Dawn of new era’ as Justice Qazi Faez Isa becomes Pakistan’s 29th chief justice

Justice Isa joined Balochistan High Court in Jan 1985.
He took oath as a Supreme Court judge on Sep 5, 2014.
Senior judge not assigned any constitutional case for 3 years.

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Judge Justice Qazi Faez on Sunday took oath as the 29th chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) after his predecessor Umar Ata Bandial hung up his robes a day earlier.

President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath at a ceremony held at the President House in Islamabad. Top government and military officials, including caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, Army Chief General Asim Munir, senators and foreign ambassadors, attended the ceremony.

Justice Isa’s tenure as the country’s chief justice, however, will be quite brief, as he is set to retire from the position on October 25, 2024.

He took oath as the apex court’s judge on September 5, 2014. Despite being the senior puisne judge, he was not assigned any constitutional case for the past three years, following a presidential reference filed against him in 2019.

The newly-appointed top judge of the country was born on October 26, 1959, in Quetta. His father, the late Qazi Mohammad Isa, was a prominent leader in the Pakistan Movement and a close associate of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

After completing his initial education in Quetta, Justice Isa pursued O and A levels studies from the Karachi Grammar School. He then moved to London to pursue his higher education in law to complete the bar professional examination at the Inns of Court School of Law.

He joined the Balochistan High Court on January 30, 1985, and became an advocate of the Supreme Court in March 1998. After an emergency was declared during the Pervez Musharraf era on November 3, 2007, Justice Isa decided not to appear before judges who took oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).

At the same time, after the decision of November 3 was annulled by the Supreme Court, the Balochistan High Court judges resigned, while Justice Isa was directly appointed as the judge of the provincial high court on August 5, 2009.

He remained associated with the field of law for 27 years before being appointed as a judge in the Balochistan High Court and the Supreme Court. During this time, his assistance was sought in various important cases by different high courts and the Supreme Court, as well as for handling international arbitrations.

For the past five months, Justice Isa — who took the oath as an SC judge on September 5, 2014 — has engaged in chamber work only. As a form of protest following his disagreement with chief justice on suo motu powers, he has refrained from participating in any cases.

In March this year, Justice Isa and Justice Qazi Ameenuddin issued a ruling, stating that hearing of all cases under Article 184(3) should be suspended until the apex court first makes its rules with regard to the SC’s Practice and Procedure Act.

With a 45-year-long career in the legal field, Justice Isa possesses a rich background. Prior to his judicial appointment, he contributed articles on various topics, such as the Constitution, law, Islam, and the environment, to Pakistan’s leading English news publications.

He also co-authored a book, ‘Mass Media Laws and Regulations in Pakistan’, in 1997. Additionally, Justice Isa authored the report ‘Balochistan: Case and Demand’ published by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) in 2007.

‘Beginning of new era’
Taking to X, senior journalist Mazhar Abbas described the new chief justice’s decision to form full court to hear petition against Practice and Procedure Act as beginning of a new era.

“Finally the full court was formed to hear an important case of Practice and Procedure Act, the first headed by new Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Monday. Beginning of a new era and one hope to see rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution,” he wrote.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said despite pressures and malicious propaganda, CJP Isa “stood firm, fought the good fight and won”.

He said that nation “expects him [CJP Isa] to preserve, protect & promote Quaid’s commitment to Rule of Law, constitutionalism, minority rights, since Pakistan itself is a product of democracy!”

Congratulating the newly-appointed top judge, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf congratulated Justice Qazi Faez Isa expressed hoped that the institutions providing justice under the leadership of Chief Justice Justice Qazi Faez Isa will work in a more active manner.

“For the rule of law and provision of justice in the country, it is necessary for the legislature, judiciary and executive to work together,” he added.

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