Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth has passed away aged 59, a spokesperson for the court confirmed late Thursday. Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth was battling coronavirus and succumbed to the deadly illness earlier today, the spokesperson said.
Saddened to learn of the passing of Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Waqar Ahmed Seth. May his soul rest in peace – Ameen. My condolences & prayers go to his family.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 12, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan offered condolences and prayers to Justice Seth’s family. “Saddened to learn of the passing of Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Waqar Ahmed Seth. May his soul rest in peace – Ameen,” PM Imran Khan wrote on Twitter.
‘An honest, impartial, and brave judge’
The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Supreme Court of Pakistan have announced a day of mourning on Friday — November 13 — in response to the tragic passing of Justice Seth.
In a joint statement, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBA), as well as the chairperson and the vice-chair of the PBC’s Executive Committee, announced that lawyers would not appear in the courts across the country except for urgent matters.
“The nation has lost a bold and fearless judge,” the statement read, terming Justice Seth’s death “a national loss”. “Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth was an honest, impartial, and brave judge,” it added.
Justice Seth was elevated to the PHC as Additional Judge on August 2, 2011, and took oath as Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court on June 28, 2018.
The Musharraf high treason case
He is most famous for being on the bench that handed the death penalty to former president Pervez Musharraf in a high treason case.
Justice Waqar wrote the grisly rider to Musharraf’s death sentence that stirred up a storm. Para 66 of the detailed judgment authored by Justice Seth states: “We direct the law enforcement agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict and to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan and be hanged for 03 days.”
Law Minister Farogh Naseem had slammed the observation, declaring him “unfit” for the role of a senior judge.
Request for elevation to Supreme Court
A March 30 report had stated that the PHC’s top judge had requested the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) to recommend his elevation to the Supreme Court on the basis of his seniority and merit.
In a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who is also the JCP chair, the judge had said he had a legitimate expectancy to be appointed as the apex court’s judgment and should be recommended for the appointment.