What did Justice Katju say about Qazi Faez isa?

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Qazi Faez Isa is not a Qazi but a Judge Jeffreys

What did Justice Katju say about Qazi Faez isa?
What did Justice Katju say about Qazi Faez isa?

By Justice Markandey Katju

The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa, is a disgrace to Pakistan's judiciary, and reminds one the 'hanging judge' Judge Jeffreys.

In my video interview to the Pakistani journalist Waqar Bagga of Siasat.pk I had mentioned about Qazi Faez Isa's misbehaviour on the 15-member full bench of the Pakistan Supreme Court hearing the petitions challenging the validity of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023

As a Judge, Qazi Faez Isa had taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of Pakistan, which includes a chapter on the fundamental rights of the citizens, viz Part 2, which includes the right to life and liberty, the most precious of all rights (vide Article 9).

So after becoming the CJP on 17th September, 2023 Qazi Faez Isa should have taken up on priority basis the cases of the thousands of persons (including former Prime Minister Imran Khan) who were arrested and incarcerated in jail on apparently trumped up and concocted charges after the events of 9th May (which many believe was scripted and stage-managed).

Many such persons, who are in jail for over 5 months, have families, who are suffering terribly without them. The conditions in jail are horrible.

Many persons are being arrested, tortured, and jailed even today (e.g. former Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed) because they were known to be members or supporters of Imran Khan's PTI party.

Yet Qazi Faez Isa, flouting his solemn oath, has turned a Nelson's eye to all such cases, does not list them for hearing, and instead takes up old cases which have hardly any importance today, as pointed out by the journalist Sohrab Barkat of siasat.pk

For instance, he took up an appeal of Gen Musharraf against his conviction by a court, though Gen Musharraf is long dead, and hence the appeal had become infructuous.

He also took up a review petition in the Faizabad dharna case, though the dharna had ended in 2017

In Ghani vs Jones (1970), Lord Denning observed: “A man’s liberty of movement is regarded so highly by the laws of England that it is not to be hindered or prevented except on the surest ground.”

Whenever a habeas corpus petition (a petition praying for release from illegal custody) or bail application comes before a British judge, he sets aside all other files, and takes up the petition as having priority over every other case, since it relates to individual liberty.

But Qazi Faez Isa ignores this well-established, long-standing practice, while giving regular lectures and preaching homilies on human rights, and quoting from the Quran.

I regret to say this, but ever since he became the CJP, Qazi Faez Isa has been behaving like a shameless 'chamcha' of the Pakistan Establishment. He will go down in the annals of judicial history in the same category as the ill-reputed judge Jeffreys, who loyally obeyed the orders of King James the Second of England, instead of his own conscience.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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