KARACHI - Sindh Governor Justice (r) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui yesterday passed away after prolonged illness at a private hospital in the city. He was 79 and had been battling for life with breath complication for several years.

According to the governor house spokesman, Siddiqui, following chest pain, was taken to South City Hospital where he breathed his last. Doctors said Siddiqui was suffering from severe chest infection, kidney problem and lungs disorder.

Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani has been appointed as acting Sindh governor.

Siddiqui took oath of his office on November 11 after the resignation of Dr Ishratul Ebad. He was admitted to a private hospital just days after taking the oath. He was the 31st governor of Sindh and his tenure lasted for just two months.

The governor’s Namaz-i-Janaza will be offered on Friday after Juma prayers. Governor house spokesman said Namaz-i-Janaza will be offered at Polo Ground/Governor House after Friday prayers. He said the body of the late governor has been shifted to a morgue in DHA.

Siddiqui was a jurist and legislator of great prominence, who served as the chief justice of Pakistan. He was the Supreme Court chief justice when the military coup was staged by Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf.

Notably, he rejected the request made by Musharraf via the then law minister and legal adviser, Sharifuddin Pirzada, to take oath afresh under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).

As a result, he was forced to step down by the military regime. The tenure was shortened because of his refusal to take oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) to legitimise the LFO introduced by Pervez Musharraf.

On 25 August, 2008, Nawaz Sharif announced Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui would be joint presidential candidate of Pakistan Muslim League-N and Jamaat-e-Islami to replace Pervez Musharraf. He, however, lost the September 6, 2008, presidential election to Asif Ali Zardari by 153 votes. Justice Siddiqui was again selected as a candidate for the presidential election 2013, but his name was taken back to accommodate Mamnoon Hussain as Siddiqui never joined the PML-N and was a neutral candidate.

Siddiqui was born in an educated middle-class Urdu-speaking family. He received his school education at Lucknow, Hyderabad, India. He also acquired education at Dhaka, East Pakistan. Siddiqui passed Matriculation examination from the Board of Secondary Education, Dhaka, in 1952. In 1954, he did FSc from the University of Dhaka. Siddiqui worked at the Physics Department and taught undergraduate physics laboratory courses. Thereafter, Siddiqui moved to Karachi and got admission in Karachi University in 1954 and did BA in Philosophy and LLB. In 1960, Siddiqui started legal practice at the Sindh High Court.

Justice Siddiqui was awarded honorary membership of the judicial fraternity of Australia and Canada after the news of his resignation from the office of the chief justice was made public in January 2000. Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui received a letter of commendation from the judiciary of the United Kingdom and the United States Supreme Court for his stance for the cause of the Pakistani judiciary.

Justice Saeeduzzaman joined the bar in February 1961. He was enrolled as an advocate of West Pakistan High Court in November 1963 and as an advocate of Supreme Court of Pakistan in November 1969. Siddiqui was elected joint secretary, Karachi High Court Bar Association in 1967. He was elected member, managing committee of Karachi High Court Bar Association for 1968-69. He was elected honorary secretary of Sindh High Court Bar Library in 1977. He was elevated as a judge of Sindh High Court on 5-5-1980. He was appointed as the Sindh High Court chief justice on 5-11-1990 and appointed as a Supreme Court Judge on 23-05-1992. Later, Siddiqui was appointed as the chief justice of Pakistan and chairman, Pakistan Law Commission on July 1, 1999.