Justice Faez Isa — Judge in the dock
FINALLY the long awaited decision in the case of Justice Faez Isa was announced by a 10 member bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial that was hearing the review petition filed against the court’s 19 June 2020, judgment on the presidential reference in which the court had empowered the FBR to conduct an enquiry into offshore assets of his wife.
The court accepted Justice Faez Isa’s review petition and that of his wife Sarina Isa by a majority of 6-4.
The apex court order said that no action could be taken against the wife and children of Justice Qazi Faez Isa. Justices Bandial, Sajjad Ali Shah, Munib Akhtar and Qazi Amin disagreed with the decision.
Throughout this time Justice Faez Iza had been under the microscope and in fact the entire superior judiciary was a subject of debate and speculation but this landmark decision by the Supreme Court has finally laid to rest the doubts and suspicions created by the reference filed by the President of Pakistan against a very renowned judge of the Supreme Court.
This decision has also exonerated Justice Faez Isa of any wrong doing, he has been vindicated and his honour rightfully and legally restored
Supreme Court of Pakistan finally wrapped up the suo motu case in the Faizabad Dharna case staged by the Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan of 2017 and advised the government, intelligence agencies and the army media wing to operate within their mandate.
November 22, 2018 the SC bench comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Musheer Alam had reserved judgment after a strong dose of criticism to all stake holders.
In conclusion the court directed the Federal and provincial Govts to take action against those advocating hate, extremism and terrorism and also ordered the army chief to initiate action against armed forces personnel guilty of violating their oath.
The judgment also noted that the DG ISPR has also commented on political matters and that the army must never be perceived to support a particular political party, faction or politician.
It further said “The perception that ISI may be involved in or interferes with matters with which the agency should not be concerned with, including politics, therefore was not put to rest”
Through this land mark judgment Faez Isa probably stepped on some sensitive toes and pretty soon rumours started circulating that a reference will be filed to chastise him and to make him toe the line of the powers that be in this country.
The presidential reference against Faez Isa was filed on 22 June 2020 and he was accused of not disclosing his family’s properties in London and it was alleged that he could be the “benami” owner of these properties.
The Supreme Court on June 19, 2020 dismissed the presidential reference against Justice Faez Isa declaring it invalid.
According to this judgment, there was no evidence or a previous offence recorded against Justice Faez Isa to support the allegation of money laundering brought against him.
The judgment further stated there was no evidence that the judge had violated the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act in any way.
According to this decision the President had received inadmissible advice from the attorney general and the law minister, the two architects of the reference, on the strengths and weaknesses of the reference.
The court also directed the FBR to start tax proceedings against Mrs Isa and her children in order to prove that judges of the superior courts answerable for allegations casting aspersions not only on their personal integrity but also on the integrity of the institution.
These proceedings are required to also honour the plea of Faez Isa that the allegation of absence of source of funds and money laundering must first be put to Mrs Faez Isa, who is an independent taxpayer.
Who is Justice Qazi Faez Isa and why is he under the microscope of some powerful institutions of the country? What has he done to draw the wrath of the powers that be? Scion of an educated and renowned family of Quetta, Faez Isa was born on 26th October 1959.
His father was the famous Qazi Mohammed Isa we know as a close associate of Quad-i-Azam who provided yeoman services to the Muslim League during the freedom movement.
He completed his high school education from the Karachi Grammar School and then proceeded to London for his legal studies and was called to the bar from middle temple in 1982.
Started his legal career as advocate Balochistan High court in 1985 and then advocate Supreme Court in 1996.
He has under his belt 27 years of brilliant legal practice before all the high courts of Pakistan and the Supreme Court.
He has served as a member of the Pakistan Law and Justice Commission, and as a member of the Supreme Judicial Council.
On numerous occasions he has been called upon by the high courts and the Supreme Court to assist them as amicus curiae in some sensitive and complicated cases. He also has experience in conducting international arbitration cases.
Faez Isa became judge of the Supreme Court on 5th September 2014 and is supposed to become the Chief Justice of Pakistan on 18 September 2023.
—The writer is Professor of History, based in Islamabad.