Islamabad: Pakistan’s longest serving Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is now going to retire today (Wednesday).
He has built a reputation for himself through direct confrontation with the civilian government and the powerful military to an extent.
Chaudhry, 64, himself believes that his legacy will continue even after he departs from the Supreme Court. “When such judges are still in the apex court, no one can derail the system from the path of rule of law. I lived my life, I fought my wars but not against the poor and weak but against the power, cruelty and injustice,” he said recently.
He said historians will judge how the Supreme Court worked under him. “You can see not just one but 20,000 cases which we resolved.
He became a symbol of the lawyers’ movement against Musharraf and their protests eventually played a crucial role in the fall of his dictatorial regime.
After his reinstatement in 2009, Chaudhry took up scores of suo motu cases against corruption and rights violations and issued strong judgements.
Though seen with suspicious eyes by the political class and the bureaucracy, Chaudhry is a darling of the masses.
Chaudhry forced former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani to step down in 2012 after he refused to implement the Supreme Court’s orders to revive graft cases in Switzerland against then President Asif Ali Zardari. Many critics had then described Gilani’s ouster as a “judicial coup”.
According to biodata of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who is retiring today, was born on December 12, 1948 and completed his early education from Quetta, Balochistan and did his LLB from Sindh.
His lordship enrolled as an advocate of district courts in the year 1974, as Advocate High Court in 1976 and as Advocate Supreme Court in 1985, and practiced law in all fields/subjects like Constitutional, Criminal, Civil,Tax, Revenue, etc.
He was elected as President Balochistan Bar Association, Quetta in 1986 and was elected twice as Member Balochistan Bar Council.
He was appointed as advocate general Balochistan in 1989. He was elevated as Additional Judge of High Court of Balochistan in the month of November, 1990.
He also discharged duties as banking judge, judge special court for speedy trials, judge customs appellate court as well as company judge.
He was appointed as chairman Balochistan Local Council Election Authority in the year 1992 and thereafter for second term in the year 1998.
He was appointed as permanent Judge of Balochistan High Court in the year 1993. He also remained as Chairman Provincial Review Board for the Province of Balochistan on the recommendations of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was also appointed twice as chairman of Pakistan Red Crescent Society Balochistan by government of Balochistan.
He was appointed as Chief Justice of High Court of Balochistan on April 22, 1999. After serving about one year, he was elevated as Judge Supreme Court of Pakistan on February 4, 2000.
He also remained as chairman, Enrollment Committee of Pakistan Bar Council.
Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was also appointed as judge incharge Supreme Court Staff Welfare Committee by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan.
He was appointed as Chief Justice of Pakistan and took oath of the office on June 30, 2005.
However, he was rendered dysfunctional from March 9, 2007 to July 20, 2007 and from November 3, 2007 to March 16, 2009.
His lordship attended 22nd Biennial Congress on the Law of the World held in Beijing & Shanghai, China in September, 2005 and participated in International Conference and Showcase on Judicial Reforms held in the Philippines in November, 2005.
He also visited United Kingdom in February, 2006 in connection with The UK-Pakistan Judicial Protocol on Child and Family Laws.
Attended XVII World Congress of the “International Association of Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates” at Belfast, Northern Ireland in August, 2006.
Visited Malaysia in August, 2006 to deliver a Public Lecture on the topic, “The Relationship between Law and Mortality in Islamic Common Law System”.
Visited India on Golden Jubilee Celebration of Indian Law Institute in November, 2006.
Attended the Symposium on 47th Anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Turkey in April, 2009.
Attended the 17th Commonwealth Law Conference on “Emerging Economics and the Rule of Law – Opportunities and Challenges” in Hyderabad, India in February, 2011.
His lordship attended International Conference of Jurists 28th-29th May, 2012, United Kingdom.
He was also awarded different awards by the International Organizations including the National Law Journal, published in the United States,honoured him as the lawyer of the year for 2007.
The Nova Southeastern University conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The Honorary Degree Citation of May 10, 2008.
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York also granted Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry an honorary membership in the association on November 17, 2008, recognizing him as a “symbol of the movement for judicial and lawyer independence in Pakistan.”
He also received Medal of Freedom from the Harvard Law School (HLS).