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Address by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar Chief Justice of Pakistan at the Full Court Reference

Islamabad, November 12, 2018 (PPI-OT): Brother Judges;

Mr. Anwar Mansoor Khan, learned Attorney General for Pakistan;

Mr. Kamran Murtaza, Vice Chairman, Pakistan Bar Council;

Mr. Amanullah Kanrani, President, Supreme Court Bar Association;

Members of the Bar;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Assalam-o-Alaikum!

Today we are gathered in this room to remember distinguished former Judges of this Court, those who graced the corridors of this building with their presence, penned down their wisdom and knowledge for generations to benefit therefrom and lived each day of their term as Judges with the shoulder wrecking responsibility of deciphering the truth from falsehood. My friends, as a Judge and now Chief Justice of this ultimate forum of justice, I am well aware of the weight of upholding justice that us judges have to live with each time a judgment is to be delivered, each time someone’s fate is sealed with the tips of our pens, each time with borrowed prudence from the law we paint the canvas of legal precedent.

This responsibility of dispensing justice, is one God Almighty honours only a few of His servants with and with it each one of us Judges bears a heavy but welcome responsibility on our shoulders for the duration of our terms; the responsibility to be fair and just, to guard against injustice and to the best of our abilities uphold the truth. Allah Almighty has ordained in the Holy Quran:-

“O ye who believe!

Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses

To Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents,

Or your kin, and whether

It be (against) rich or poor:

For Allah can best protect both.”

Such is the trust that Allah has bestowed on His creation, to stand against injustice even if it means standing against all that one holds near and dear. It is this trust that we wear proudly as shields each time we adorn these black robes. The Honourable Judges that have departed this world, Late Mr. Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui former Chief Justice this Court and Late Dr. Justice Javed Iqbal, Late Mr. Justice Ch. Ijaz Ahmed and Late Mr. Justice Mian Burhanuddin Khan former Hon’ble Judges of this Court were our brothers in this crusade for truth and justice. My learned brothers had left no stone unturned in their efforts to fulfil their duties as a Judge under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 (Constitution) and this gathering of esteemed individuals from our legal community is a befitting tribute to their service to our nation.

Mr. Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui

Born in a middle-class, educated Urdu-speaking family, Late Mr. Justice Saeeduzzaman received his early education at Lucknow and then Dhaka and later studied Engineering sciences in his intermediate. Owing to his background in Physics, my learned brother taught undergraduate students in the subject of Physics before he proceeded to obtain a BA in Philosophy and eventually an LLB from Karachi University. He began his legal career immediately thereafter being an active member of the Karachi High Court Bar Association and it was only a matter of time before he was elevated as Judge to the Sindh High Court where he then became Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court.

Soon thereafter he was elevated to this Court where he became Chief Justice in the year 1999 for a tenure of almost five years, however, during the military coup of 1999, he refused to take oath under the dictatorship for which he had to step down, after he heroically chose to defend the sanctity of his oath as Judge and responsibility to the Constitution. For this act of valour, he was also awarded honorary membership of the Judicial fraternity of Australia and Canada and received a letter of commendation from the Judiciary of the United Kingdom and the Supreme Court of the United States. He contested the 2008 Presidential Election in his attempt to revive democracy and although he lost, he has several other honours to his credit including becoming a Member of the OIC contact group and his appointment as Governor of Sindh in the year 2016.

Dr. Justice Javed Iqbal

The son of Allama Mohammad Iqbal, Late Dr. Justice Javed was in no manner shadowed with the towering personality and legacy of his late father. He was in his own right a renowned philosopher, a jurist and internationally acclaimed for his publications on philosophy of law and modern Islamic philosophy in international and national journals. After earning a BA and Masters degree from Government College he, like his father, proceeded to earn his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge and Bar-at-Law from Lincoln’s Inn. Justice Javed was appointed as a Judge of the Lahore High Court in the year 1971 and eventually held the position of Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court for four years before being elevated as a Supreme Court judge in 1986.

After serving as a Judge of this Court for some years he continued to serve his country as a Senator on a technocrats’ seat. Apart from these achievements, my learned brother was bestowed with one of the highest honours, a Hilal-i-Imtiaz for his services in law, literature, philosophy and Iqbaliyat. A staunch advocate of democracy and judicial independence, in an article he wrote on the Independence of Judiciary, Justice Javed extended his support to what he termed as the concept of “judicial purism” reflected in the pronouncements of Chief Justice Hamood ur Rehman, Chief Justice Cornelius, Chief Justice Ajmal Mian and other eminent judges, who followed their example of upholding the Constitution without permitting political will to encroach upon the powers of the Judiciary.

Mr. Justice Ch. Ijaz Ahmed

In his retirement speech, Late Mr. Justice Ch. Ijaz Ahmed remarked that Honesty, integrity and merit are the hallmark of a judge’s duties. Stating that Hazrat Fatima (RA) advocated justice because it unfolds a chain of unity in society, he expressed his belief that the provision of justice mainly depends upon those who administer justice, i.e. the judges. Hailing from a humble background which he wore as a badge of pride, my learned brother was a strong believer in merit and an advocate against discrimination on the basis of status, cast or creed. Justice Ch. Ijaz Ahmed had an illustrious legal career and was elected as General Secretary Lahore High Court Bar Association before being elevated as Judge of the Lahore High Court.

He became a Judge of this Court in the year 2005. He is remembered for his historic struggle for judicial independence and stood as a shield against judicial oppression, being part of the historic judgment of 10 Members out of the Bench of 13 Hon’ble Judges of this Court headed by Mr. Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday who decided the petition of Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry against the Chief of Army Staff and others. The judgments rendered by Justice Ch. Ijaz reflect his legal acumen and command of the law yet the most noteworthy trait of my learned brother was the humility he adorned so beautifully.

Mr. Justice Mian Burhanuddin Khan

A veteran of the Pakistan Movement, Late Mr. Justice Mian Burhanuddin Khan held the position of Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court before he was elevated to this august Court. While his expertise remained in criminal matters and he delivered countless judgments on the criminal law side, Justice Burhanuddin also rendered notable judgments on service law and property law. My learned brother belonged to the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and became the fifth Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court later gracing this Court with his presence. Many brother Judges have since then been elevated to this Court from the Province of KPK and I hope that many more will follow suit as I hope to see a steady increase in the percentage of Judges from the Provinces of Balochistan and KPK, for a rich blend of our brothers from all Provinces will only benefit this institution further.

My learned brother Judges have departed this world, but have left their imprints on the history of this country. A brief overview of the life they lived reflects a common trait which they shared; of refusing to be complacent and of choosing to be brave in the face of adversity. The judicial profession has at many occasions put judges to the test of deciding between their self-interests and the interests of justice and I am proud to say that my fraternity has always given the latter preference often even at their own expense. I have always maintained, individually and as the head of this supreme institution that there is no valour in being complacent, no wisdom in limiting our potential by aiming low and certainly no nobility in looking down on those who aim high despite the odds.

For indeed, time has never favoured the timid, it favours only the bold and courageous. If we had not fought for the independence of Judiciary, our march towards the upholding of the fundamental rights of the people under the Constitution could never have been possible. The Constitution has given the Judiciary the status of a pillar of the state, it therefore must never be submissive to the Executive or Legislature but must support these other two pillars in their duties while it upholds its own duty as a guardian of the fundamental rights of the people and the supremacy of the rule of law.

Thank you.

For more information, contact:
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, G-5/2,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-9220581-600
Fax: +92-51-9213452
Email: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk
Website: http://www.supremecourt.gov.pk

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