Since delivering a landmark verdict in 2019 asking the Pakistani military and the country’s intelligence services to remain in office, Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, who is on track to become the judge. Chief of Pakistan in September 2023, had multiple run-ins with the almighty establishment.
In the latest incident, Judge Isa’s wife Sarina Isa alleged that four men in civilian clothes entered her parents’ house in Karachi on December 29 and asked her to declare her political affiliations and other personal details. in a detailed questionnaire. Two of the men had claimed to be in military intelligence, and the other two had said they were from the intelligence department, sent by the Home Office, she wrote in a three-page complaint to federal secretaries. to the Defense and the Interior, and to the Sindh authorities.
The Labbaik case
In 2017, the far right Tehreek-e-Labbaik evening had organized a weeklong protest at a major crossroads that had crippled the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court opened a suo motu case in the ‘Faizabad sit-in’ case – and in a judgment in February 2019, a two-judge bench led by Judge Isa raised questions about the role of the army and the ISI. in the demonstration and by negotiating an agreement between the demonstrators and the government (then led by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N) which was an effective surrender of the latter.
An ISI general was seen in video footage distributing money to protesters as they dispersed.
“The constitution categorically prohibits members of the armed forces from engaging in any type of political activity, including supporting any political party, faction or individual,” the ruling said. “The government of Pakistan, through the Ministry of Defense and the respective heads of the army, navy and air force, has been ordered to take action against personnel under its command who would have violated his oath. “
Reaction of the establishment
Pakistan’s defense ministry has filed a petition for review, and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf – whose 2018 electoral victory was largely staged by the military and ISI – called on the Supreme Court to overturn Judge Isa’s verdict.
In addition, a presidential referral was filed with the Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan, an oversight body of the Supreme Court, making allegations of undeclared foreign assets against five judges, including Judge Isa. If the allegation had been upheld, it would have potentially led to his dismissal.
However, in June 2019, the Supreme Court, acting on a petition filed by Isa and several law societies in Pakistan, dismissed the referral, calling it “invalid”, and quashed all proceedings against the Supreme Council Judge of the judiciary.
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Judge Isa, whose father Qazi Muhammad Essa played a leading role in shaping Pakistan as an associate of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is from Balochistan.
He is a cousin of Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, who served as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India in the late 1990s.
In 2016, Judge Isa headed a one-member judicial commission to investigate the massacre of 90 people – mostly lawyers – in a suicide bombing at Quetta General Hospital in August of the same year. . Lawyers had gathered at the hospital after the body of the President of the Quetta Bar Association, who had been killed in an attack that morning, was brought there. Judge Isa’s report was a complete indictment of the security and political establishment, and their conduct in Balochistan.
Judge Isa will have a 13-month term as Chief Justice, if he takes up the post in September 2023.