ISLAMABAD: The legal fraternity of Balochistan has expressed concern over the hearing of a petition against the appointment of Justice Qazi Faez Isa as the chief justice of the Balochistan High Court and his elevation to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The Balochistan Bar Council is not only pondering over passing a resolution to express displeasure over the grant of permission to hear Advocate Riaz Rahi’s petition against the appointment of Justice Isa — the only judge who represents Balochistan in the 17-judge Supreme Court — but is also planning to call an All Representatives Confe­rence of Bar Associations (ARCBA) on the issue.

Talking to Dawn on Friday, Vice Chairman of the Balochistan Bar Council Haji Ataullah Langove said Justice Isa did an excellent job by highlighting weaknesses of different quarters while leading a one-man inquiry commission to probe the Aug 8, 2016 Quetta carnage in which at least 74 people including lawyers lost their lives.

He said the bar council was likely to adopt a resolution expressing displeasure over the move against the outspoken judge. He said a decision could also be taken to finalise the date for holding the ARCBA in this regard.

The decision of passing the resolution was also supported by Munir Kakar, a bar member who also represents the Balochistan Bar Council in the Judicial Commission of Pakistan.“Why questions are being raised on the appointment of Justice Isa even after he had served as the chief justice of the Balochistan High Court for three years and is now working as a judge of the Supreme Court?” wondered the senior member of the Balochistan bar council.

On March 13, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar during a chamber hearing overruled an objection raised by the Supreme Court registrar on the petition of Advocate Rahi last year with a direction to number the same and fix it before a Supreme Court bench to decide the maintainability of the petition. The office in its objection had stated that the petition prima facie appeared to be frivolous within the contemplation of Order 27, Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980.

Moreover, the petition does not seek enforcement of any fundamental rights while moving the petition under Article 194(3) of the Constitution.

Early hearing

Speaking to Dawn, Riaz Rahi said he was planning to move an application for early hearing of the petition in which he had requested the court to declare as invalid and of no legal effect the notifications of Aug 5, 2009 and Sept 1, 2014 pertaining to the appointment of Justice Isa in the Balochistan High Court as well as the Supreme Court, respectively.

He argued that there existed no provision in the Constitution for direct appointment of the chief justice of a province and the guidance provided in Articles 196 and 200 of the Constitution were not followed.

Likewise, he added, the chief minister’s advice under Article 105 of the Constitution was mandatory for the appointment of Justice Isa as judge of the high court and that the acting governor was not competent to forward the name of the judge as the chief justice of the high court. Because the appointment of the acting governor himself was a stop-gap arrangement to look after the day-to-day affairs as held in many judgements including the Judges’ case (Al Jihad Trust case) of 1996.

The seniority of many other judges working in the Supreme Court was being affected who hold the office in the respective high courts prior to the appointment of Justice Isa, according to the petition.

It contended that many judges having much experience of judicial work became junior to Justice Isa due to his appointment as the judge of Supreme Court.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2018