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Symbolism marks Justice Isa’s swearing-in as CJP



• Top judge breaks precedent, calls wife to stand beside him during oath administration
• Creates history by appointing first female judicial officer as SC registrar
• Ceremonial event marred by ‘conspicuous absence’ of four immediate predecessors

ISLAMABAD: At a ceremony that was as symbolic as it was ceremonial, Justice Qazi Faez Isa was sworn in as the 29th chief justice of Pakistan, with his wife, Sarina Isa, standing beside him as he read out the oath.

CJP Isa also made history with his first decision to appoint a judicial officer as the first-ever female registrar of the Supreme Court.

The oath-taking ceremony took place on Sunday at the Aiwan-i-Sadr, where President Arif Alvi — who had filed a reference against the judge four years earlier over alleged misconduct and non-disclosure of assets — administered the oath.

Among others, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, caretaker Sindh Chief Minister retired justice Maqbool Baqar, Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir, Inter-Services Intelli­gence Director General Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum, senators and foreign ambassadors attended the event.


Before the ceremony commenced, CJP Isa asked a military officer to communicate to his wife to be present along with him at the time of oath-taking.

The action was a break away from the precedent because even though spouses accompanying their partners during oath-taking ceremonies are common visuals all over the world, it was yet to happen in Pakistan.

“It was their day, and [the] CJP did a right thing,” said a senior official on condition of anonymity and recalled how John G. Roberts Jr’s wife stood beside him when he took oath as the 17th chief justice of the United States on Sept 29, 2005 at the White House.

One of the participants who attended the ceremony was heard saying the presence of Ms Isa along with her husband was “a clear message of steadfastness” demonstrated by her during the trying times faced by her husband when President Alvi had sent a reference against him.

Conspicuous absence

At the start of the ceremony, the secretary law read out a notification issued on June 21 confirming the then-justice Isa’s appointment as the CJP.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (3) of Article 175 A read with Article 177 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to appoint Hon’ble Mr Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the most Senior Judge of the Supreme Court as Chief Justice of Pakistan with effect from Sept 17, 2023,” said the notification.

The ceremony was attended by several former chief justices and judges, including Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Tassaduq Jillani, Manzoor Malik, Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Dost Muhammad Khan and Iqbal Hameedur Rehman. However, the absence of four immediate predecessors of CJP Isa — Umar Ata Bandial, Gulzar Ahmed, Asif Saeed Khosa and Saqib Nisar — was conspicuous.

Justices of the Supreme Court at Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s swearing-in ceremony. — DawnNewsTV

A number of bar councils and bar association representatives were also present at the ceremony.

In the adjacent room next to the ceremonial hall, CJP Isa and his wife stood beside President Alvi and caretaker PM Kakar to meet all the guests and thank them for their presence.

Historic appointment

After the new chief justice, the apex court also got a new registrar on Sunday with the appointment of Jazeela Aslam.

In other postings, CJP Isa appointed Dr Muhammad Mushtaq Ahmad as his secretary and Abdul Sadiq as staff officer.

Before her appointment as the registrar, Ms Aslam was serving as Okara district and sessions judge. She is the senior-most female district and sessions judge in Punjab.

Ms Aslam wrote ‘Guidelines on Writing Judgments (2019)’ for the use of civil judges and prepared a report on the ‘Property Rights of Women (2020)’, according to an SC press release issued after her appointment.

Dr Ahmad, the chief justice’s new secretary, was serving as professor and chairman of the Department of Shariah and Law at the Shifa Tameer-i-Millat University in Islamabad.

He is a professor of law from Mardan and has LLB (Hons), LLM, MA and PhD degrees.

Mr Sadiq, the chief justice’s staff officer, was a native of Balochistan and serving as the security officer in the Balochistan High Court prior to his appointment.

Challenges ahead

Legal experts and those who attended the ceremony agreed that expectations from the new CJP were high, especially when his tenure was only 13 months long — ending in Oct 2024.

He is inheriting “a landscape fraught with intricate issues and unresolved problems that have marred the judiciary’s credibility and effectiveness,” said legal expert Usama Khawar.

According to Mr Khawar, some of the immediate challenges in front of CJP Isa are the controversy around the delay in general elections, the trial of civilians in military court, the fate of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 and pending references against his colleague Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi.

Tumultuous journey

CJP Isa was elevated as judge of the apex court in September 2014. During his time as the Balochistan High Court chief justice and then as the Supreme Court judge, he authored several landmark judgements and was part of high-profile inquiry commissions.

His notable rulings include the suo motu on Hazara killings and killings of nationalists as Balochistan High Court CJ and the Faizabad sit-in suo motu judgement in 2017 as the SC judge.

He was also the head of the Memogate Commission, the Commission on the assassination attempt on Justice Khawaja Sharif, the Quetta Bombing Commission and the Audio Leaks Commission.

However, he faced arguably the biggest challenge of his legal career in 2019 when the presidential reference was filed against him over alleged misconduct and non-disclosure of foreign assets, particularly his family’s properties in the UK. The reference was widely seen as an effort to silence him, especially after his significant role in the Faizabad sit-in case in 2019, according to Mr Khawar.

In June 2020, a ten-judge SC bench headed by former CJP Umar Ata Bandial quashed the reference. However, it ordered the FBR to conduct an inquiry into the allegation of non-declaration of foreign assets.

Later, in a dramatic twist in April 2021, the same bench — with a majority of six to four — overturned its previous verdict after accepting Justice Isa’s review petition against the order.

But despite being the senior puisne judge, Justice Isa was “deliberately” sidelined from constitutional matters of significance.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2023


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Pan helps China light up pool after first eSports medals



HANGZHOU: Teen sensation Pan Zhanle swam a freestyle leg at world record pace to drive China to the men’s 4×100 metres medley relay gold at the Asian Games on Tuesday after the hosts claimed the first title at eSports’ official debut in the multi-sport event.

Two nights after becoming the first Asian swimmer to break the 47 seconds barrier in the 100 metres freestyle, 19-year-old Pan clocked an incredible 46.65 as China threatened the United States’ world record.

Pan’s time was 0.21 seconds faster than the 100m world record held by another 19-year-old wunderkind, Romanian David Popovici.

With world champion Qin Haiyang swimming the breaststroke leg in 57.63 seconds — faster than the Asian record — China won in three minutes 27.01 seconds, just outside the US world record of 3:26.78 from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

“We thought we would have to wait until next year to come close to the world record, so tonight we put in a really good performance,” said Qin, who owns the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke world titles. “There must be a higher goal. Our goal has always been to win the gold medal at the Paris Olympics next year.”

China have ruled the Hangzhou pool — and the Games in general. Olympic bronze medallist Li Bingjie won the women’s 400m freestyle to add to the medal haul.

However, Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey has been a bulwark of resistance to China’s dominance.

The former British colony’s first Olympic swimming medallist stormed to victory in the blue riband 100m freestyle with an Asian record swim of 52.17 seconds, a day after taking the 200 title.

“I haven’t swum a [personal] best time since Tokyo,” said 25-year-old Haughey, who took the 100 and 200 silvers at the Olympics. “It just proves that I’m not at my peak yet.”

China took four of the six golds on the night. The other went to Tomoru Honda, who stunned exhausted Japanese team-mate Daiya Seto in the 400m medley.


Gaming is making its debut as a medal event in Hangzhou in what is seen as a major step towards Olympic status one day.

Audiences of overwhelmingly young spectators have packed out the 4,500-capacity Hangzhou Esports Center in the hope of catching one of their heroes, especially South Korea’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.

He will lead the Koreans in League of Legends — and controversially earn an exemption from military service if they win gold.

Medals are up for grabs in seven gaming titles, with China grabbing the first gold when they defeated Malaysia in the final of smartphone game Arena of Valor. Malaysia take home silver and Thailand bronze

“The audience who loves eSports and the veterans in the eSports industry have been looking forward to this for a long time,” China’s captain Luo Siyuan said after his team’s historic victory. “I believe that eSports will develop more and more in the future.”

Underlining just how popular eSports is at the Games, it is the only competition in Hangzhou where tickets were allocated through an initial online lottery.

China’s place in the Games record books helped the home nation stretch their lead atop the medals table with golds in their usual strengths of gymnastics, table tennis and shooting to increase their overall tally to 53 at the end of three days of action.

They are way ahead of South Korea (14 golds), Japan (eight) and Uzbekistan and Hong Kong (both five).


China’s all-powerful table tennis squad swept past rivals Japan 3-0 in the women’s team final. They also claimed men’s team gold over South Korea by the same scoreline.

In artistic gymnastics, home favourite and twice world champion Zhang Boheng grabbed his second gold, adding the all-around individual title to his men’s team triumph on Sunday.

Unbeaten in every rotation, Zhang stuck the landing in the horizontal bar to finish with a total score of 89.299, over two points clear of Japan’s runner-up Takeru Kitazono.

But China were dethroned by Japan in the men’s team sprint at the Chun’an Jieshou Sports Centre Velodrome on the first day of action on the cycling track.

Japanese rider Yoshitaku Naga­sako said his team thrived on the partisan crowd. “When I heard ‘China’ I just thought ‘Japan’. So the crowd was amazing,” he said. “I’m really proud to win this one.”

China’s women made no mistake in their team sprint final, beating South Korea to the title.

In other action, Hong Kong retained their men’s rugby sevens title when they beat South Korea 14-7 in the final, as hosts China won the women’s gold.


The Games had a royal touch when Thailand’s Princess Sirivannavari Mahidol rode in on a horse named ‘Es Fangar’s Samba King’ in the dressage team event.

With Thailand finishing fifth — behind gold-winning India — the 36-year-old daughter of King Vajiralongkorn was unable to add a medal to the crown jewels

“Luckily our father is supporting us,” said the princess, who pla­yed badminton at the 2006 Asian Games and competed in equestrian at the 2014 edition. “He knows that what drives my heart is horses and badminton.”

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2023


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India resumes internet ban in restive Manipur after protests



India has reimposed an internet ban on the restive Manipur state after violent protests erupted following the circulation of photographs of two dead students killed during the months-long conflict, officials said.

More than 150 people have been killed in the remote northeast state since armed clashes broke out in May between the predominantly Hindu Meitei majority and the mainly Christian Kuki community.

The far-flung state has fractured on ethnic lines with rival militia groups setting up blockades.

A nearly five-month-long internet ban was lifted last week, but was reimposed late Tuesday after dozens were injured during violent protests in the state capital Imphal.

On Tuesday, police fired tear gas as hundreds of angry students marched following the release of photographs of two dead bodies on social media, a 17-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man from the Meitei community, local media reported. The pair went missing in July.

The internet was then cut to curb the “spread of disinformation, false rumours, and other types of violent activities through social media platforms”, a government order read.

Biren Singh, the state’s chief minister, said on late Tuesday that officers were investigating the deaths.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticised for his administration’s failure to end the violence in the state, which is governed by his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Human Rights Watch has accused the Manipur authorities of facilitating the conflict with “divisive policies that promote Hindu majoritarianism”.

Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the opposition Congress party, on Wednesday accused the ruling party of turning Manipur “into a battlefield”, in a post on X.


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Avastin use banned for indefinite period



LAHORE: The Punjab government has slapped a ban on the use of Avastin injection for eye patients for an indefinite period across the province, besides launching a portal to collect data of the patients affected by the drug and provide them treatment facilities.

The data collection through the portal launched by the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department will help the government prepare a policy regarding the use of the injection.

Provincial health ministers Dr Jamal Nasir and Dr Javed Akram said this while addressing a joint press conference here on Tuesday.

They said the ban was imposed as a high-level inquiry was underway to find out the prime factors leading to vision loss among patients administered the injection in Punjab.

68 affected patients have surfaced in Punjab so far

They asked the affected patients to provide necessary information on the portal to get treatment and help the government in assessing the true impact of the drug’s reaction.

They said that so far 68 patients affected by this injection have been reported in the province, for whom special beds have been allocated in the Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi, Mayo Hospital, Lahore and Nishtar Hospital, Multan.

The ministers said a new 10-member committee has also been constituted by Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi to analyse the situation caused by Avastin injection’s reaction.

The committee will point out deficiencies and weaknesses at various levels in handling and use of the injection and prepare a comprehensive action plan to prevent recurrence of such incidents in future.

Primary Healthcare Minister Dr Jamal Nasir said this injection, available in the market in 100mg pack, was primarily meant for the treatment of colon cancer and its use for the treatment of eyes in diabetic patients falls under the category of “off-label” use, adding that the injection was neither fake nor locally manufactured.

“The diabetes patients require only 1.2mg dose and some people sell this injection in small syringes for this purpose,” Dr Nasir said.

He said the injection should be kept at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius temperature and administered to the patient within six hours of opening the pack. However, he said, apparently due to increase in temperature its chemical composition changed and this might have happened because of not maintaining the required temperature during its transportation.

Dr Nasir said that efforts were under way to arrest those who sold this injection in small syringes illegally, adding that the Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) has also been directed to trace the doctors and hospitals involved in this issue.

The minister said that 11 drug inspectors in eight cities of Punjab have been suspended from service and an inquiry has been ordered against them for failing to check the illegal sale of the injection in small doses.

Punjab Specialized Healthcare Department Minister Dr Javed Akram said new members have been added to the committee constituted by the chief minister, including Professor of Microbiology Dr Sidra, Professor of Ophthalmology Dr Moin and Professor of Forensic Medicine Dr Allah Rakha.

He said the committee would also inspect the premises where the injection was being packaged in small syringes and determine whether those places were suitable for the process or not.

Apart from this, he said, the record of temperature maintained during shipment, off-loading and transportation etc of the “contaminated” lot of the injection would also be sought from Switzerland-based company.

Dr Akram apprehended that it seemed good clinical practices had not been taken into account while using this injection for eye treatment. He said it was mandatory to seek consent of the patient in local language before administering the injection, adding that those responsible for this episode would be held accountable without any leniency.

PHC: The Board of Commissioners of the Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) has directed the senior management of the commission to be prepared for special inspections of the hospitals where eye infection cases were reported due to the administration of Avastin injection to the patients.

The directions were issued in an emergent meeting of the PHC Board of Commissioners (BoC) headed by chairperson retired Justice Muhammad Bilal Khan.

A representative of the PHC, who had attended the meeting of the recently formed committee by the government also attended the BoC meeting.

He briefed the BoC regarding the proceedings of the meeting convened by both interim health ministers – Prof Javed Akram and Dr Jamal Nasir.

The BoC was informed that the issues related to import, compounding and dispensing of the dosage for eye patients will be investigated by the committee, while the PHC was asked to investigate the practices in the hospitals where the injection was administered.

After deliberations, the BoC directed the PHC senior management to make preparations for any action, especially, the inspections of the hospitals where the infections have been reported.

The BoC also ordered inspections of these healthcare establishments to ensure implementation of the minimum service delivery standards, especially pertaining to infection protection and control, medication management, qualifications of the medics, and sterilisation of operation theatres.

The BoC also ordered issuance of an advisory for the affected patients to initiate complaint about these incidents. For this, they can also WhatsApp their complaints at 0306 0843500, for initiation of investigation by the PHC.

In a related development, the Lahore police arrested a suspect, Bilal, from Arifwala, in connection with Avastin injection scam.

The police said a case had been registered against the suspect by Faisal Town police.

A special police team investigating the case traced the location of the suspect at Arifwala and arrested him in a raid on a premises, with the help of local police, sources said.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2023


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