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Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 669, 18 September 2023

Justice Isa takes oath as the Chief Justice of Pakistan



On 17 September, Justice Qazi Faez Isa was sworn in as the 29th Chief Justice of Pakistan during a ceremony that was equally significant and formal.

Shamini Velayutham

On 17 September, Justice Qazi Faez Isa was sworn in as the 29th Chief Justice of Pakistan during a ceremony that was equally significant and formal. His wife, Sarina Isa, stood by his side as he read the oath. Additionally, CJP Isa made history when he chose to name a judge as the first female registrar of the Supreme Court. President Arif Alvi, who had filed a reference against the judge four years prior due to suspected misconduct and non-disclosure of assets, performed the oath-taking ceremony at the Aiwan-i-Sadr.
 
New bench
The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, a bill that called for the formation of benches on constitutional matters of public importance by a committee of three senior judges of the court, has been challenged in nine separate cases. The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Qazi Faez Isa, has convened the full court, which includes all 15 judges of the Supreme Court, to address these cases.

The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 was passed by the PDM's previous administration to reduce the chief judge's authority. According to the law, the CJP's office lacks the authority to take a suo motu notice in its capacity. This law specifies that a three-member bench, consisting of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the two senior-most justices on the Supreme Court, shall decide whether or not to hear a case suo motu. This used to be completely the CJP's authority. Additionally, it expands the Supreme Court's review authority by allowing suo motu cases the ability to appeal within 30 days of the ruling.
 
A notable absence
Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, federal ministers, governors, and several previous chief justices and judges, such as Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Tassaduq Jillani, Manzoor Malik, Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Dost Muhammad Khan, and Iqbal Hameedur Rehman, attended the ceremony. Isa Umar Ata Bandial, Gulzar Ahmed, Asif Saeed Khosa, and Saqib Nisar were the four CJP's direct predecessors whose absence was notable. Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate General Lt Gen Naveed Ahmad Anjum and his wife, as well as Chief of the Army Staff General Asim Muneer, were present. At such a gathering, the army chief's wife made her debut. There were also representatives from several bar associations and bar councils in attendance.
 
Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, took his oath without the presence of any ambassadors, high commissioners, or foreign diplomats. The lone exception was José Antonio de Ory, the Spanish ambassador, who represents the nation that Serena Isa, the new chief justice's spouse, originates from. She did make the event special. Samina Alvi, the first lady, who regularly attends these events, was noticeably absent.
 
Political leaders desire "balanced scales of justice"
Political leaders have congratulated Qazi Faez Isa on being appointed the 29th Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) and expressed the hope that, under his guidance, the court will be impartial in the administration of justice. Shehbaz Sharif, a former prime minister, and Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the head of the PML-N, expressed optimism that the next chief justice would uphold the fundamentals of justice. In congratulating CJP Isa on his new duties, Mr. Shehbaz emphasized that upholding the Constitution, the law, and business regulations was the only way to ensure that justice was administered fairly.
 
The former prime minister stated in a statement that he wished the incoming CJP well and that the people were eagerly awaiting the administration of justice. He anticipated that the appointment would improve the international standing and prestige of Pakistan's judicial system. With his appointment, Ms Nawaz expressed her appreciation for the new chief judge and her hope that "justice will return to courtrooms." Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, the PPP's speaker of the national assembly, also sent Justice Isa his best wishes for success in his new position. He praised judicial Isa as a capable and seasoned jurist and expressed his optimism that his leadership would improve the performance of the judicial institutions.
 
References
(Nasir Iqbal, “Full court to take up law limiting CJP’s powers today,” Dawn, 18 September 2023)
(Amjad Mahmood, “Political leaders want new CJP to ‘balance scales of justice,” Dawn, 18 September 2023)
(Muhammad Saleh Zaafir, “Alvi evades query over giving oath to judge he filed reference against,” The News International, 18 September 2023)
(“Political leaders, parties felicitate new CJP,” The Express Tribune, 18 September 2023)

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