Justice Ejaz Afzal of the Supreme Court on Friday took oath as the acting chief justice of Pakistan.
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed administered the oath to to Justice Afzal at a ceremony attended by Supreme Court judges, senior lawyers and members of the judicial staff.
"An independent judiciary is the result of the lawyers' struggle," Justice Afzal said after he took the oath. "The judiciary has seen leaders such as Quaid-i-Azam and [former prime minister] Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto."
"The role lawyers play is more important than the one played by the chief justice as they support the judges in delivering justice."
Justice Afzal will serve as the CJP in the absence of Chief Justice Saqib Nisar who, along with Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, departed for Sri Lanka to participate in a conference of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc). The conference brings together leaders of eight countries, including India, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Justice Afzal served on the five-member apex bench that heard the Panama Papers case, which led to the ouster of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on July 28.