Members of the legal fraternity, analysts, and politicians on Monday saw as monumental and historic the Supreme Court judgement of accepting the review petitions challenging the top court's verdict in the presidential reference filed by the government against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
Over the course of the last few months, the case garnered widespread media attention as remarks delivered by Justice Isa and his other Supreme Court counterparts made national headlines.
The top court accepted the review petitions by a majority of 6-4, with Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Mazhar Alam allowing the petitions.
The 10-member bench heard review petitions filed against the court’s June 19, 2020, judgement on the presidential reference in which it had empowered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct an inquiry into offshore assets of Justice Isa's spouse.
The court today declared legal actions taken by the FBR and all other forums related to the assets of Justice Isa's wife and children as "illegal".
Reacting to the judgement, lawyer and president of the Sindh High Court Bar Association Salahuddin Ahmed termed it an "emphatic victory for those who support constitutionalism and rule of law in Pakistan".
Author and columnist Zahid Hussain simply called it a "historic judgement".
Senior journalist Mazhar Abbas said while the detailed judgement on the review petitions was awaited, today's ruling is "a second victory for Justice Qazi Faez Isa since the reference was first dismissed on June 19th [last year]".
"History will tell why the judge came under fire in the first place," he tweeted.
Lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir remarked that Justice Isa "took the bull by the horns, challenged tradition, surprised those who thought he will take the conventional route of resignation as many judges in the past have".
He said the judge was "fighting for independence of judiciary from establishment & you can't do that being polite".
Journalist Najam Sethi lauded what he called a "great judgement" by six SC judges "upholding canons of law and justice in Qazi Faez Isa case".
Terming the judgement as "spirit uplifting news", PPP former senator Farhatullah Babar said split verdicts "is a glory of judiciary".
Reema Omar, legal advisor for South Asia at the International Commission of Jurists, in a tweet called the SC judgement "a short order of breathtaking significance".
Header image: A general view of the Supreme Court building during a hearing on the Panama Papers case in Islamabad on July 28, 2017. — AFP/File