ISLAMABAD, Sept 1: The government has decided to honour the first chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Sir Abdul Rashid, by naming a road after him in the federal capital. The former seventh avenue which divides Sectors F-7 and F-6 and runs south from Margalla Road down to Khayaban-i-Suhrawardy and the Kashmir Highway has now been renamed Justice Sir Abdul Rashid Avenue.
Justice Sir Abdul Rashid was born in 1889 to the well-known Mian family of Baghbanpura, Lahore, which has the distinction of producing several prominent judges and lawyers, including Mian Sir Muhammad Shafi and Justice Mian Shah Din. Justice Rashid was a graduate of Cambridge University (1909-1912) and was called to the bar from the Middle Temple in 1913.
He began his legal practice in Multan and later shifted to Lahore where he joined the chambers of Sir Muhammad Shafi. His outstanding abilities surfaced early in his career and in 1925 he was appointed to the post of assistant legal remembrancer, Punjab. Later, he rose to become a judge of the Lahore High Court in 1933 at the age of 44. In 1946, he was appointed as chief justice of that court.
As the senior-most judge at Pakistan’s independence in 1947, he was appointed the country’s first chief justice and had the singular honour of administering the oath of office to the Quaid-i-Azam as Pakistan’s first governor-general. He was also awarded the Hilal-i-Pakistan, the country’s highest civil honour.
In the words of Justice A.R. Cornelius, in the extremely difficult period of transition from the modalities of British rule, Mian Abdul Rashid “steered the court and developed its practice and its standing in the public eye to a very high level”.