LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar is doffing his robe today (Jan 17, Wednesday), while senior-most judge of the Supreme Court Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa will be taking oath of the Chief Justice of Pakistan tomorrow (Thursday). Justice Khosa will serve as the country’s 26th chief justice for a period of 336 days till December 20, 2019. He is the son-in-law of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nasim Hassan Shah, who had led the national judiciary for 362 days.
Research conducted by the “Jang Group and Geo Television Network” shows that nowhere in the world have both father-in-law and son-in-law ever headed a country’s apex court — a unique distinction of sorts. The Dera Ghazi Khan-born Justice Asif Khosawill be the 15th Chief Justice of Pakistan elevated from the Lahore High Court during last 71 years. Assuming charge on January 18, 2019 at the age of 64 years and 28 days, he has been a senior judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan since December 31, 2016. In December 2018, it was reported by national press that Justice Khosa had decided a record 11,000 criminal cases during the last four years. Overall, during his nearly two-decade long career as a judge, he has decided about 55,000 cases.
Blessed with two daughters and four grandchildren, Justice Khosa had secured fifth position in his matriculation exams from Multan Board in 1969, got First position in the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Lahore, in 1971 while studying at Government College, stood first again in Bachelors exams held under the Punjab University in 1973 while he was still studying at the Government College Lahore, and then completed his Masters in English Language and Literature from the University of the Punjab in 1975. Justice Khosa had then gone on to complete his Tripos Part I in Law from Queens' College, University of Cambridge in England in 1977, before bagging the Master of Laws degree from the same institution the following year. In 1979, the incoming Pakistani Chief Justice was called to the Bar at the Society of Lincoln’s Inn in London, hence becoming a Barrister-at-Law from the institution, which is also famous for its students like Quaid-i-Azam Muhhamad Ali Jinnah, Allama Iqbal, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Indian Chief Justices Mirza Hidayatullah and Mirza Hameedullah Beg , first Pakistani Foreign Minister Sir ZAfarullah Khan, incumbent NAB Chief Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal, Indian President Shankar Dayal Sharma, former Israeli President Chaim Herzog and numerous British Premiers like Margaret Thatcher, William Pitt and William Gladstone etc.
Founded in 1422, Lincoln's Inn is recognized to be one of the world's most prestigious professional bodies of judges and lawyers. He was enrolled as Advocate of the Lahore High Court in 1979 and was allowed to practice in the Supreme Court in 1985. He was appointed judge of the Lahore High Court in May 1998 and elevated as a Supreme Court arbiter in February 2010.
A band of three illustrious brothers: Justice Khosa's distinguished brothers are former bureaucrat Nasir Mahmood Khosa and former Inspector General of Police, Balochistan, Tariq Masood Khosa. Nasir Khosa had served as Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, besides having called shots as Chief Secretary of Punjab and Balochistan both at different times. Nasir Khosa had also served as executive director at the World Bank from 2013 to 2017.
On May 28, 2018, Nasir Khosa was nominated as the caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab ahead of the 2018 general elections. He was nominated by the currently incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) regime to which Shahbaz Sharif had agreed, but PTI somehow withdrew his name on May 30, 2018, followed by Khosa himself opting out of the race and excusing himself from assuming the responsibilities of interim head of the province.
Meanwhile, in December 2011, Tariq Masood Khosa was appointed to head the commission set up for probe in the much-debated infamous Memogate scandal that had resulted in the ousting of former Ambassador of Pakistan to United States, Hussain Haqqani. Tariq Masood Khosa, a former respected officer known for his integrity and impeccable character, was given the responsibility by the apex court to bring out the truth in the Memogate controversy. Tariq Khosa has to his credit some key investigations of very important cases that involved key government functionaries and political bigwigs. He remained Director General Federal Investigation Agency, Inspector General of police, Balochistan, Director General National Police Bureau and Additional Director General FIA during his long career.
He had served as Federal Secretary Narcotics Division just before his retirement in January 2011. Tariq Khosa had then worked as an Advisor on rule of law and criminal justice in Pakistan to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He remained Member Executive Committee of France-based Interpol till 2012 as well. At retirement in coming December, Justice Justice Asif Saeed Khosa will feature among 10 Pakistani Chief Arbiters who had to hang their boots after serving for less than one year. Pakistan's longest-serving Chief Justice was Muhammad Haleem, who served for 3,205 days, while the shortest-serving Chief Justice was Muhammad Shahabudin, who had died in office just 9 days after taking oath.
Meanwhile, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary is the only Justice of Pakistan to have served for three non-consecutive terms, with a tenure length of 2,480 days. Here follow the names of all former Pakistani Chief Justices and Acting Chief Justice with tenure lengths in brackets: Sir Mian Abdur Rasheed (1,826 days), Muhammad Munir (2,134 days), Muhammad Shahabudin (9 days only), A.R. Cornelius (2,848 days), S.A. Rahman (94 days), Fazal Akbar (166 days), Hamoodur Rehman (2,538 days), Yaqub Ali (691 days), Anwarul Haq (1,279 days), Muhammad Haleem (3,205 days), Afzal Zullah (1203 days), Nasim Hassan Shah (362 days), Saad Saud Jan (50 days), Sajjad Ali Shah (1276 days), Ajmal Mian (550 days), Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui (209 days), Irshad Hassan Khan (711 days), Bashir Jahengiri (24 days), Sheikh Riaz Ahmad (698 days), Nazim Hussain Siddiqui (546 days), Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary (2480 days), Acting Chief Justice Javaid Iqbal (15 days), Acting Chief Justice Rana Bhagwan Das (87 days), Abdul Hameed Dogar (504 days), Tassaduq Hussain Jillani (176 days), Nasirul Mulq (435 days), Jawwad S. Khawaja (23 days), Anwar Zaheer Jamali (477 days) and Mian Saqib Nisar (747 days).
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has remained part of a number of benches and authored landmark judgments in many high-profile cases. Justice Khosa is the adjudicator who had authored a ruling that no second FIR [first information report] could be registered in criminal cases. Justice Khosa also played important role in many cases, including Salman Taseer murder case, Aasia Bibi case.
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