In Apa Ji Akhtar (late)’s drawing room while sitting with Dr. Sahib along with my relative Arif (!) We heard a voice (from no-where). Dr. Sahib spontaneously said, “Ab to who be keh rahe ham K judge ban jao” (Even they are telling you to accept the elevation offer). Shah Sahib had also ordered in the same tone. And in consequence here I was the judge of Lahore High Court in May, 1997.

3. Later when I became the senior puisne judge I did not involve myself in any conspiracy or leg pulling to become the CJ. I feel honoured in narrating that the then CJ of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui, recommended me to be the CJ Lahore High Court more than once but interestingly he did not know me personally. Government however did not want me to be the CJ because of my ‘manufacturing defects’ (No contact/ No liaison with the authorities, No sifarish ever) and then resultantly I was elevated to the Supreme Court in 2005. Few days in Supreme Court and I was the junior judge of 3 member bench; where according to my two senior brothers the case was not maintainable but I ventured to differ. The head of the bench said, “I advise you to sign.” I, however, added my dissenting judgment setting an independent role for me from the very outset.

Then dawned the fateful day of 9th March 2007 – when the order of Supreme Judicial Council was challenged in the Supreme Court. Acting CJ in consequence convened a three member bench consisting judges Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, Hamid Ali Mirza and myself. I told my brothers that had it been Lahore High Court I would have heard the case as single bench, so now we three should decide it. Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan however did not agree and forwarded the file to the Acting Chief Justice to either order a full Bench or a larger bench. Justice Rana Bhagwan Das in the meantime had assumed the charge of Acting Chief Justice. He ordered a five member bench replacing Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan with Justice Javed Buttar, Nasirul Mulk and Raja Fayyaz. While before the 3 member bench Ch. Aitzaz Ahsan was requesting for full court and the government was asking for larger bench. When a 5 member larger bench was ordered both parties interestingly changed their respective stances and adopted the other. In the history of Pakistan this was first case against a dictator while still in power. Finally the request of the government was accepted and full court was ordered but proceedings of the supreme judicial council were stayed. Had this not been ordered most probably the present CJ would not have been leading the court as today. I was part of 13 member bench which gave the land mark judgment of 20 July, 2007. I was also the member of the bench which heard Justice (R) Wajihiuddin’s petition challenging General Musharaf’s nomination for presidential election. During these proceedings on 2 November, 2007 one counsel remarked that he was expecting a PCO wherein some of the judges might have to leave. I ventured out rightly giving my observation on these remarks, “men judgi ki hafazat mera Rab Kare ga (My Allah will take care of my assignment as a judge’). During that fateful period (of about 1½ years) when we were laid off, I neither met a lawyer, nor any judge and even media of any sort. On that day of 3 November, 2007 I was most probably financially the poorest judge. The responsibility of marriage and education of children was still over my head. I am a very weak person and could not have withstood this difficult period but for my faith in the Almighty and support of my spiritual guides. Allah says it is up to Him whom he honours or dishonours. And I bow before Him for all this! According to my vision Supreme Court is like a flowing river and I pray with all humility that this flowing water should remain clean ever and provide righteous justice to all without slight discrimination while feeling the miseries around. I have been working as a member of this august team headed by the present CJ and of course tomorrow I shall be in a different category but praying for this team. I am whole heartedly grateful to the lawyer community for their affection for a humble person like me. I also feel indebted to the Supreme Court staff for their affection and diligent cooperation particularly Mr. Abdul Rehman (Secretary), Mr. Muhammad Ilyas (PA), Mr. Akhtar (Qasid), Mr. Rasheed (Driver) and Hafeez (Gunman). I very sincerely and humbly request for your continued prayers. I shall be failing in my duty if I don’t pay rightful tribute to Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja (the first rain drop) to sacrifice for the judiciary. Behold! We cannot forget Justice Iqbal, Hamood-ur-Rehman who stood for the right cause, only and I repeat only a day after his confirmation as judge of the Lahore High Court. We the whole judiciary owe it to these stalwarts and those 60 deposed judges, the lawyer community, media and civil society who heralded the flag of justice against all odds.

4.    This country came into being to lead the world and Insha Aallah it will in the coming days.

5.    The funeral in a way is a day of accountability for the dead in the form of remarks of those attending the final rites. Similarly the day of retirement of a man in service of the people (and especially a judge) is also a day of accountability. I pray I get acquitted in the eyes of all concerned. I don’t think I match the words showered on me as in the words of Sheikh Saadi:-

But still

I wish I come up to your expectations even hereafter. While entering practical life I resolved on 5 basic guiding pillars for me. I knew well these are all under divine orchestration:-

a.   Which form your spirit (Rooh) adopts

      when entering this universe!

b.   Who are your comrades in school

c.   How the child grew up or brought up

d.   How intelligent or brainy the child is!

e.   With whom later he is married to!

6.   The citadel of knowledge (Bab-ul-Ilm) Hazrat Ali had said that society could withstand infidels but not injustice. Similarly, Hazrat Fatima, advocated justice because it unfolds a chain of unity in the society. Provision of justice mainly depends upon those who administer justice i.e. the judges.

The selection of judges is crux of this diagnosis and I have explained this aspect in my book “Separation and Independent Judiciary” and Article authored by me under the topic “Judicial Independence” (PLJ 2007 Magazine 162). I once again quote from Hazrat Ali ‘Those in authority if do not manage justice for the aggrieved, Allah shall deprive them of authority and power”. In number of cases my own family members were effected but cases remained in abeyance for years but I did not speak to any concerned official, even when in a dacoity my nephew’s son was critically injured and the culprits have not been arrested till date.

7.   A judge should not only work as per his conscience but also should not bother about public relationing and response. Honesty, integrity and merit are the hall mark of a judge’s duties.

8.   When I was first recommended to be the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui and in consequence the then Chief Justice Lahore High Court was recommended to be elevated to Supreme Court. According to Justice Siddiqui, President Musharraf disregarded his recommendation. Justice Siddiqui yet another time recommended me as Chief Justice and the incumbent Chief Justice was to move to Supreme Court but this summary too was ignored. However, when I was finally elevated to Supreme Court, I was Acting Chief Justice Lahore High Court and the Chief Justice (Acting Governor then) tried his best to postpone my oath ceremony to ensure that I would not take this oath as Acting Chief Justice but he some how failed. Here comes a vital question for next generations that a judge who is not considered fit to be Chief Justice has no right to be retained as a judge. The case of these summaries and their fate should be reopened/re-examined to set a path to ensure no such wrongs and I recommend it not for my personal gain but for the next generations and also upholding of Constitution.

I was not the first victim of such injustice, we have another example where Justice Abu Saleh had to resign when a British judge was preferred over him despite clear recommendation of Chief Justice Mian Abdur Rashid. Summaries regarding my elevation as Chief Justice were to be rejected with definite reasons duly recorded but these were just ignored without assigning any reason against rules, traditions and constitution.

9.   Now that by the grace of God, I am retiring honourably from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, I admit that all this is mainly due to my training by Apa Ji Akhtar’s table and spiritual guidance of Dr. Sahib, Babu Ji and Shah Sahib. I owe it to all three!!

10.   After the fateful events of 3 November, 2007, I remained contended (of course isolated) and I owe it to the affection/ kindness of Apa Ji Akhtar. In this period of mental, physical and financial turmoil there have been kind people to offer their assistance but by the grace of Allah, I declined these kind offers with all humility and determination. While I recount all this let me acknowledge the kindness of Dr. Sahib, Dr. Pervaiz Hassan, late Chief Justice Sardar M. Iqbal, my oversea friend Masud, my friend Mr. Muhammad Hussain Goraya, my brothers in law Brig. Hassan, Ch. Zafar Ullah, Ch. Tufail and of course my nephew Khalid. I profusely and humbly thanked them all professing my faith in Allah alone.

11.   I salute my wife for respectfully looking after my very old father, single handedly, training my children and supporting me solidly in my decision not to join Dogar Court. But for the support of the family, my resolve might have been affected! And while I part I share few incidents with you. On 2nd November, 2007 I was judge of the apex court but on 3rd November, 2007 the police guard at my gate told me just not to get out of my house. The present Chief Justice went to Army House on 9th March, 2007 but came out without Supreme Court flag. Then as a result of lawyer’s movement duly supported by media and civil society humbled and even dishonoured the same dictator reminding us about a divine narration about ‘Ishabilfeel’. Why I narrated these two incidents is to bring home a lesson.

“One can retire from service but never from life, a gift of God.”

12.   “sometimes in life questions are much nobler than answers, keep asking them even if nobody answers”.

Questioning is a very important tool known and used by man since he landed on this planet. Islam, the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) have always emphasized on the use of this tool. All great philosophers, scientists and men of intelligence have enjoyed success because they had asked the right questions. Reading the poetry of Allama Muhammad Iqbal reveals how successfully he had mastered this art of asking questions.

Had Allama Muhammad Iqbal not asked questions in his ‘SHIKWA’ he would not have gotten the answers in his ‘JAWAB-E-SHIKWA’. I came to Lahore in Class 6th and since then I have experienced the evolving technology.

Albert Einstein, the pioneer and founder of the modern science said:-

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious”.

He certainly asked enough questions. With each passing day, we see new technological and scientific developments, courtesy Einstein’s curiosity. Questions are very essential in life, as they draw the lines of one’s future. Ask any successful man and he will tell you he has asked some good questions in his life. Today, we face chaos, hopelessness, hatred and poverty. Why? Because we no longer ask the right questions. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result they get better answers. I hope and pray that we will yield better questions, questions that we must have asked but we did not, questions that are ought to be asked now, otherwise it will be too late, questions that will lead Pakistan towards success and prosperity.

I will like to share with you what I always tell my son:

“Moving on in life and staying un-noticed of your surroundings can be a miracle of life, not a reality. So always stay curious”.

13.   In simple words, I described myself, according to the sayings of Mian Muhammad Bukhsh Khari Sharif, as under:

14.   According to my personal view, I consider the duty of a judge, as per sayings of Baba Buley Shah & Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar, respectively, as under:-

15.   The retirement, in terms of Maulana Room, is as under:

16.   I conclude as per following sayings of Qateel Shafai:                               

                                                           –Concluded