News Analysis |
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court, will take oath as the 26th chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) on Friday 18th January as the incumbent CJP Mian Saqib Nisar retires on Thursday (today).
His oath-taking ceremony will be held at the President House in Islamabad. He will remain the country’s top judge for 11 months till December 20, 2019. According to media reports, Justice Khosa has decided about 55,000 cases in a period of about 19-and-a-half years.
Justice Khosa–A Profile
Born in Dera Ghazi Khan, Asif Saeed Khan belongs to Khosa Tribe; a Baloch Tribe. Topper throughout his educational period, Mr. Khosa passed his matriculation from Multan Board in 1969, intermediate from Lahore Board and then B.A exams from Government College Lahore at Punjab University in 1973.
Mr. Khosa did his masters in English Language and Literature. He then did his master of laws with specialization in Public International Law from Queen’s College at the University of Cambridge. He became a barrister at law on July 26, 1979, at the Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in London. He enrolled as an advocate of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on November 13, 1979, before enrolling as an Advocate of the Supreme Court on September 12, 1985.
The SC had acquitted Asia Bibi–a Christian woman falsely accused of blasphemy–on Oct 31, 2018. Justice Khosa was one of the members of a three-member bench.
In May 1998, Barrister Khosa was appointed as a LHC judge. When General Pervez Musharraf in Nov 2007 suspended the constitution and demanded the judges to retake oath under the Provincial Constitutional Order (PCO), Justice Khosa refused to comply with the orders of Musharraf. He, among other SC and HC judges, was then sacked from the office till August 18, 2008; lawyers’ movement to restore the “deposed judges” consequently got Justice Khosa restored to his position as a HC judge.
Landmark Cases of Justice Khosa
Justice Khosa has passed some landmark verdicts; one of them was maintaining the conviction of Mumtaz Qadri–the murderer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer–in 2015. Some of his verdict notes have become a major talking point. Here are some of the most famous ones.
‘The Godfather’ Remarks
Justice Khosa headed the larger bench of Supreme Court hearing the Panama Paper case against the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and disqualified Mr. Sharif on the basis of article 62 and 63 of the Constitution in 2017. The following are his remarks on article 62 and 63 of the Constitution pertaining to the aforementioned case.
“This case is the first of its kind. We know the gravity of a declaration by the court and its effects for both the parties saying that someone was not honest. But we have to lay down parameters, otherwise, except for the Jamat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, no one will survive.”
Justice Khosa penned down a separate six-page note in which he– quoting famed Lebanese author Kahlil Gibran– wrote about “Pity of the Nation” and added a quote of Johne Donne [a famous English poet].
Justice Khosa’s note in the aforementioned case began with the quote “Behind every great fortune there is a crime”– a reference to the famous ‘The Godfather’ dialogue of character ‘Honore de Balzac’– adding that “It is ironical and a sheer coincidence that the present case revolves around that very sentence attributed to Balzac.”
When he Quoted Shakespeare
The SC had acquitted Asia Bibi–a Christian woman falsely accused of blasphemy–on Oct 31, 2018. Justice Khosa was one of the members of a three-member bench. He wrote an additional note with the verdict, quoting verses from Quran also criticizing the case. His words were, “Blasphemy is a serious offense but the insult of the appellant’s [Asia Bibi’s] religion and religious sensibilities by the complainant party and then mixing truth with falsehood in the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was also not short of being blasphemous. It is ironical that in the Arabic language the appellant’s name Asia means ‘sinful’ but in the circumstances of the present case she appears to be a person, in the words of Shakespeare’s King Leare [sic], ‘more sinned against than sinning’.”
From ‘Khalil Jabran’ to ‘Johne Donne’
Justice Khosa was part of the seven-member larger bench of the SC which heard the contempt of court proceedings against the former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani. On May 2012, the SC ruled against Gillani, disqualifying him from holding an office of the Prime Minister.
Justice Khosa penned down a separate six-page note in which he– quoting famed Lebanese author Kahlil Gibran– wrote about “Pity of the Nation” and added a quote of Johne Donne [a famous English poet]. The note became a major talking point and a subject of media coverage all over the country.