ISLAMABAD - Federal Law Minister Farooq H Naek on Friday announced that senior judge of the apex court Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan would be the next Chief Justice of Pakistan. Talking to media persons after chairing a meeting at the Law Ministry, Farooq H Naek said after the retirement of incumbent Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, who will step down on March 21, Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan deserves to be the Chief Justice of Pakistan as being the senior most among his colleagues. The statement is a thunderbolt for those who were optimistic that the PPP government, though extremely ambidextrous in flip-flopping, would restore the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on the retirement of Justice Dogar. President Asif Ali Zardari twice promised to the nation that all the judges, deposed by former President Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007, would be restored. The commitment has not been fully honoured and still some of the independent-minded deposed judges, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, remain to be reinstated. Sharing the agenda of meeting, Farook Naek also informed that the setting up of evening courts has been finalised and they would start functioning all over the country by the end of this month. Brushing aside questions that judges' political appointments are likely, Naek said the new appointments will be made soon and they all would be made purely on merit. Law Minister further stated that the salaries of the superior courts judges as well as the subordinate judiciary would be enhanced soon. "We believe in rule of law, supremacy of the Constitution and independence of the judiciary" Law Minister claimed. Naek also stated that government is setting up legal aid offices to provide legal assistance to those who are not in a position to engage counsels. On the issue of abolishing capital punishment, Farook H Naek said the proposed summary for abolishing death sentence had been sent to the Interior Ministry for further perusal.