Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa: A jurist par excellence

by Tauqeer Abbas

Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Sunday took oath as the 29th chief justice of Pakistan.

Born in Quetta on October 26, 1959, he is the son of the late Qazi Mohammad Isa of Pishin, who was in the forefront of the Pakistan Movement and a close associate of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Justice Isa’s father was the first person from the province to acquire the Bar-at-Law degree and helped establish the All India Muslim League in Balochistan after his return from London. His father had served as the only member on the Central Working Committee of the All India Muslim League from Balochistan.

Begum Saida Isa, Justice Isa’s mother, was a social worker and worked in an honorary capacity on the boards of hospitals and other charitable organisations which focused on education, children and women’s health issues.

After completing his primary and secondary education in Quetta, young Isa moved to Karachi to finish his ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels from the Karachi Grammar School (KGS). He studied law from London, where he completed his Bar Professional Examination from the Inns of Court School Law, London.

Justice Isa enrolled as an Advocate of the Balochistan High Court on January 30, 1985, and as an Advocate Supreme Court in March 1998.

He has practised law for more than 27 years before the High Courts of Pakistan, the Federal Shariat Court and the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He became a member of the Balochistan High Court Bar Association, Sindh High Court Bar Association and Life Member of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.


Justice Isa became the Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court on August 5, 2009. He was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court on September 5, 2014.

He strongly opposed taking the oath by judges under the Emergency and Interim Constitutional Order imposed by former President Pervez Musharraf in November 2007.


Justice Isa gave milestone judgements in many high profile cases. Let’s have a look at those decisions.

Memogate scandal

In 2012, Justice Isa chaired the Memogate Commission. In the Memogate scandal, Hussain Haqqani, then Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, was accused of seeking help from the United States by expressing fear of a military coup in Pakistan.

He found Hussain Haqqani guilty in the report submitted to the Supreme Court.

Quetta suicide blast case

After the suicide blast in Quetta on August 8, 2016, Justice Isa was appointed head of an inquiry commission to find out the facts.

In its report, the commission found that the suicide blast happened due to negligence of the government. The commission warned the government that strict action against banned organisations was necessary to end terrorism in the country.

Hudaibiya Paper Mills case

Justice Isa was also a part of the three-member bench of the Supreme Court which rejected NAB’s appeal against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif in December 2017.

The NAB had approached the Supreme Court against the decision of the Lahore High Court in the Hudaybiya Paper Mill case. A two member division bench gave a split verdict. The case was referred to a referee judge, who supported the division bench judge favouring closing the case. Hence, a ‘clean chit’ was granted to the accused and the case was closed in March 2014.

In its decision, the Supreme Court acquitted the Sharif family of the corruption charge of Rs1.2 billion.

Faizabad sit-in case

Justice Isa wrote the decision of the Faizabad sit-in case in 2017 which displeased many in the power corridors.

In February 2017, the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the problems faced by the residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi due to the sit-in of the religious organisation Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan.

The Supreme Court wrapped up in 2019 and directed the government, law enforcers, intelligence agencies and the army’s media wing to operate within their mandate.

On Nov 22, 2018 a two-judge SC bench comprising Justice Isa and Justice Musheer Alam had reserved its judgement and closed the hearing of the case that was initiated on a suo motu on Nov 21, 2017 ─ after dishing out severe criticism to the attorney general, media regulator and other stakeholders.

Opposition to establishment of military courts

In 2015, Justice Isa was among six judges who opposed the establishment of military courts when the full bench of the Supreme Court ruled in its favour.

The dissenting judges were of the opinion that the establishment of military courts was a violation of the independence of the judiciary and basic human rights.

Ironically, the Muslim League-N government hailed the decision (of creating military courts) as a victory for the nation and said it would help eradicate terrorism.

Objection to suo motu

Justice Isa objected to taking suo motu notice by the chief justices.

During the hearing of suo motu notice in Army Public School attack case in Peshawar along with then Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, he had said that the Human Rights Cell of the Supreme Court has no direct authority to convert a petition into suo motu notice.

Justice Isa objected that under Article 184(3), an order of the Supreme Court is necessary first.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Nisar suddenly dismissed the court and after some time when the court resumed hearing, Justice Isa was not sitting on the bench.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa took oath as the 29th chief justice of Pakistan on Sunday after the retirement of Umar Ata Bandial. He was administered the oath of office by President Arif Alvi during a ceremony at Aiwan-i-Sadr in Islamabad. Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and Chief of Army Staff Asim Munir were also in attendance.

Source: Dunya News 

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