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Justice Isa urges CJP to restore public confidence in judiciary

Accuses ex-CJPs Saqib Nisar, Gulzar of disregarding merit when appointing SC judges

Justice Qazi Faez Isa has called for a transparent process in the appointment of judges to dismiss the impression that “outsiders or extraneous considerations determine who should, or should not, be a judge”.

In a letter addressed to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Saturday, Justice Isa accused former top judges Saqib Nisar and Gulzar Ahmed of deliberately disregarding merit in the appointment of Supreme Court (SC) judges.

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The letter underscored potential advantages regarding the appointment of chief justices of high courts as apex court judges. Justice Isa also provided reasons as to why junior high court judges should not be elevated to the SC.

“Superior court judges are required to take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. An important component of this oath is to ensure that the people’s fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution are not trampled upon. Therefore, an important factor to consider in the selection of superior court judges is also whether they have the requisite ability and determination to resist and repel unconstitutional acts, and the courage to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” read the letter penned by Justice Isa.

The senior judge also noted in his letter that the long-standing practice was to elevate chief justices of the high court to the Supreme Court, as they would have gained valuable judicial experience covering a multitude of legal subjects through their tenure. “They would also be conversant with the multifarious issues and problems of judicial administration,” he added.

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Justice Isa said that this process for the selection of judges was disregarded by former CJPs Saqib Nisar and Gulzar Ahmed.

“This was done by creating an artificial polarity — seniority versus merit; the Constitution does not stipulate this. These chief justices then assumed that seniority and merit were mutually exclusive, and by applying their self-justifying specious logic, unilaterally nominated candidates, whose merit they proclaimed.

“This resulted in the bypassing of chief justices and senior judges of the high courts. At times it was also asserted that their chosen nominee had decided a very large number of cases, but we all know that the workload on the judges of the Supreme Court is less than that on the judges of high court, which negates this sophistry,” the letter said.

The former Balochistan high court chief justice noted junior judges are elevated “before they are ready” then it does not serve their “interest nor that of the institution”. He added that such justices are deprived of the experience they may get from holding the position of chief justice of a high court.

He also added that by overlooking senior judges a “public perception was developed that they were not competent; which undermined both their credibility and that of the institution”.

Justice Isa stated that, in the case of the elevation of a junior judge of the Sindh High Court, Justice (retd) Saqib Nisar had claimed that the high court chief justices and senior judges did not want to get elevated. He added that the judges in question had no idea about being bypassed and neither had they declined the elevation.

Justice Isa stated that with the establishment of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) the role of the CJP was reduced and the selection process was “made inclusive, and provided for the participation of different stakeholders, and matters were made open and transparent”.

He said any impression that external forces or considerations impacted the appointment of judges needed to be dispelled.

“To unilaterally nominate judges and force through their selection, oftentimes by a single vote, does not accord with the spirit of the Constitution. When tried and tested longstanding practices are dispensed with, and this is done without substituting it with criteria for the selection of judges, encourages those desirous of career progression to cultivate relationships (jobbery); and when this happens, it is an abomination,” the letter said.

Justice Isa concluded his letter by saying that the people had bestowed the responsibility on the JCP to select judges in accordance with the Constitution



  1. “In my opinion, I may differ with Honorable Justice Fais Isa but he has opened a debate that needs to be reviewed, reseen and redressed meeting with the prerequisite of the spirit of the constitution that binds we all to fight for the commons rights of the people and especially the denied, the poor and the unheard and uncounted at large since the day one,1947.
    I my opinion, since the constitution of Pakistan has met with more than 23 amendments in the name of having ensured the poor have access to justice with reference to, article, 25,37,16,38,4 etc, now the social contract needs vividly to be made loved with the missionary tasks where the commons are heard and counted for their constitutional rights, almost denied.
    The said constitutions however needs too to be seen and reviewed that what are those very barriers (issues) that help the powerful, the elites, the rulers and the rich to make the poor football in the name of having access to early justice, (article,25,37, having seen the Time Frame for the Judiciaries?

    Apparently, the said letter did not have the room to just say a letter but have opened the wide range debates and serious questions over the role of the superior judiciaries and their constitutional roles and who is who and who did betray the uncompromising spirit and the values of the oath, binding the judges or the other office holders not to deny the rules of business assigned upon the judges, office holders whatsoever.
    If this letter is read with reference to article,4,5,62,63 it questions the sovereignty and the dignity of the judiciaries and has the serious impact on the creditability, affectivity and the validity of the decisions, with a view that the judges did not have the right to be given such a responsibilities so they would deliver and ensure access to justice to the commons as the equal genders with equal rights and respect in their societies, the said letter also questions over the lists recently posted on the web, that how many judges were pushed to next posting and how the judges were pulled to their undesired postings, but all done with love or whatsoever, Justice Fais Isa claimed on, over the dignity and the role of the honorable judiciary that is almost alleged of doing at majority the wrong?”
    Unfortunately, despite having the freedom from the colonial regimes of the British Empires, we did not learn that in all societies all over the world the judiciary is the last hope for the unheard and the uncounted and the more the commons are heard and counted for their constitutional rights the more poor are ensured to have access to justice, thus believing in the rule of law there is just one quantum, are you heard and counted.
    However, we thank the Justice Fais Isa for opening the debate to review and redresses the issues rather piling up.


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