The newly elected body of the Press Association of the Supreme Court, headed by President Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui, this time decided to take the oath of office in place of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Qazi Faiz Issa, at number four in the seniority list. Entering through the door adjacent to the parking lot of the Supreme Court at 3.30 pm, climbing the stairs, he reached the hall reserved for the Supreme Court Bar Association on the first floor.
He asked his senior journalist friends Asif Bashir Chaudhry and Hassan Ayub if there was no tradition of taking oath from the Chief Justice before. Both confirmed that former Chief Justices Saqib Nisar and Asif Saeed Khosa have taken oath from the elected body of PASS and earlier the Law Minister had also taken oath from the elected body.
For the interest of the readers, let us say that the Press Association of the Supreme Court is in fact an organization of sealed journalists covering the Supreme Court and its members report important cases in the Supreme Court for Pakistani news channels and newspapers. These professional journalists covered and reported more than forty hearings of the presidential reference filed against Justice Qazi Faiz Issa in the Supreme Court.
Every aspect of the serious allegations leveled against Justice Qazi Faiz Issa in the presidential reference was heard by these journalists as they listened to the full court judges and also heard the government arguments in which they made allegations against the allegations but the ten member full court unanimously rejected the presidential reference. Rejected on The swearing in of Justice Qazi Faiz Issa by the journalists reporting to the Supreme Court against the tradition was a proof that all journalists are satisfied that Justice Qazi Faiz Issa is an honest judge. This impression was further confirmed by the response of the newly elected President, PASS, Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui, when I asked him why, as in the past, Justice Faiz Issa was chosen to take the oath of office instead of the Chief Justice. Geo News senior journalist Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui calmly but emphatically emphasized the word ‘free-spirited, independent and honest’ and said that in principle I like free-spirited and independent judges and Justice Qazi Faiz Issa is an honest and free-spirited judge Are Because of these qualities, I wanted to take an oath from them. President Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui also said that the executive body of PASS had unanimously decided to take oath from Justice Qazi Faiz Issa and any reporter belonging to his organization would have appointed Justice Qazi Faiz Issa through the Registrar of the Supreme Court. He did not object to the swearing-in request.
While Justice Qazi Faiz Issa was waiting, Laiba Advocate, daughter of senior journalist Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui, also came to attend her father’s swearing-in ceremony. When Justice Faiz Issa entered the swearing-in hall, all the journalists stood in his honor and greeted him with loud applause. After the arrival of Justice Qazi Faiz Issa, the ceremony began with the recitation of the Holy Quran. After starting with the word of God, senior journalist Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui was invited to deliver the introductory speech. Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui, on behalf of the journalists of the Supreme Court, thanked Justice Qazi Faiz Issa for his visit and said, “When you become the Chief Justice,” all the journalists shouted, “Inshallah.” Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui said that so far we have seen Article 184/3 being used to overthrow political governments, hopefully you will become the Chief Justice and use it for the independence of judges, judiciary and media. Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui, President-elect of the Supreme Court Reporters, ended his short address by turning to Justice Qazi Faiz Issa, saying, “Independent judges like you are the forehead of the Supreme Court and the Pakistani judiciary.”
Justice Qazi Faiz Issa addressed the function for 12 minutes after taking oath from the executive body comprising seven elected members of PASS including President Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui. In his address, Justice Faiz Issa quipped, “How different this country would have been if the oath had been kept.” Justice Qazi Faiz Issa further said that Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan declared freedom of speech and expression as a fundamental right of every citizen. Referring to the Eighteenth Amendment, Justice Qazi Faiz Issa said that by adding Article 19-A to the Eighteenth Amendment, access to information of public interest has also been declared as a fundamental right of the citizen which made freedom of expression and freedom of press mandatory. Are
Justice Qazi Faiz Issa said that conscious people and informed journalists can demand accountability by better pointing out mistakes in governance. Justice Qazi Faiz Issa further said that in such a case, the empowered state officials do not misuse their powers for fear of this because they know that their conduct is in the public eye due to press freedom. Justice Qazi Faiz Issa said that if freedom of press was declared as the basic right of citizens in the constitution, then violation of this right is a violation of the constitution. Justice Isa said that respect for the Constitution is the duty of every citizen and anyone who tries to restrict the freedom of the press is an enemy of the people and the Constitution of Pakistan and is accountable. Justice Qazi Faiz Issa termed it as shameful for Pakistan to fall to 145th position in the global press freedom index in the last two years.