A man who has had serious reservations about the state of the judiciary, Sardar Raza Khan was appointed chief election commissioner on Thursday after agreement from members of the parliamentary committee for the CEC's appointment.

Born in 1945 in Namli Maira in Abbottabad district, Khan has an MA in economics and an LLB degree from Punjab University.

He became a civil judge in 1968 and fast earned the reputation of one unwilling to budge from his principles. Khan became an additional judge for two years in 1993 and before taking permanent office at the Peshawar High Court.

He was appointed chief justice of the Peshawar High Court in 2000 by Mohammad Rafiq Tarar and two years later became a judge at the Supreme Court. After refusing to take oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) on Nov 3, 2007, he was removed from the Supreme Court after the imposition of emergency by then military ruler Pervez Musharraf. He was reinstated to the court under the democratically-elected government which came to power in 2008.

He retired from the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2010.

Writing in a column after his retirement, Khan said the judiciary could not be independent if the judges were not free of influence.

"Past experience from various countries and even from Pakistan has shown that apart from the government, effective influence can be exercised by politicians and media. To achieve independence, judges have to defend themselves on all fronts which, by now, has become much more difficult," he wrote.

Khan has served as the acting Chief Justice of Pakistan in addition to twice taking up the post of the acting governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He has also filled the role of interim chief CEC.

Khan has been the top judge at the Federal Shariah Court since June 2014, a post he will have to relinquish with his appointment as the new CEC.

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