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ISLAMABAD: The lawyer who challenged the appointment of Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court has been fined twice by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for filing frivolous petitions in the past.

In 2010, Advocate Riaz Hanif Rahi had even challenged an executive order for the reinstatement of the then chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and faced the wrath of the apex court.

In 2014, he was fined by at least two judges of the IHC for filing frivolous petitions.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC imposed a Rs100,000 fine on Mr Rahi for filing a petition seeking the withdrawal of security from former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

He then filed an intra-court appeal before a two-member bench against the order. The matter was remanded to the single-member bench again. Recently, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani dismissed the petition observing that the petitioner had claimed locus standi (right of audience) for being a taxpayer but failed to substantiate his claim.

In 2010, Advocate Riaz Hanif Rahi had also challenged executive order for reinstatement of the then chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry

The second petition for which Mr Rahi was fined by IHC Justice Athar Minallah was filed against the judicial policy and electoral system of the country.

The petitioner had requested the court to annul the entire process of 2013 general elections.

Justice Minallah imposed a Rs10,000 fine on him and dismissed the petition after first hearing and termed it frivolous.

The same lawyer also filed contempt of court petitions against former president Asif Ali Zardari and ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif which were also dismissed by the IHC.

On March 13, 2018, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar during a chamber hearing overruled an objection raised by the Supreme Court registrar on the petition of Mr Rahi filed last year with a direction to fix it before the apex court bench to decide its maintainability.

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, moved under Article 194(3) of the Constitution, does not seek the enforcement of any fundamental rights.

The Balochistan Bar Council expressed displeasure over the grant of permission to hear the petition against the appointment of Justice Isa, the only judge who represents Balochistan in the 17-judge Supreme Court.

When contacted, Mr Rahi denied that he ever filed frivolous petitions. He said in fact judges did not like petitions on such topics.

He said he had challenged the legality of the notifications of Aug 5, 2009, and Sept 1, 2014, pertaining to the appointment of Justice Isa in the Balochistan High Court (BHC) and 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.

On August 5, 2009, Justice Isa was sworn in as the chief justice of the BHC. At the time of his appointment, the BHC was without any judge since all the five judges, including the then chief justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, had resigned as they were hit by the Supreme Court’s judgment of July 31, 2009.

The judgment not only declared all the extra-constitutional steps of retired General Pervez Musharraf as illegal but also sent over 100 judges home who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) of November 3, 2007.

Mr Isa was a senior lawyer when he was inducted in the BHC.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2018