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ISLAMABAD, March 19: Justice Rana Bhagwandas, who is to assume the office of the acting chief justice of the Supreme Court, is meditating in Lucknow, India, it is learnt. Justice Bhagwandas is busy in “Geeta Gyan” in the Ashram of Nilu Bhagwan, a spiritual lady from the judge’s native Sindh province, where she once lived as Nilu Sanjnani.

Since March 9, everybody in Pakistan has been guessing about the whereabouts of Justice Bhagwandas. Then there were concerns about his wellbeing expressed by his close relatives. However, it is believed that he will return on March 23.

Justice Rana Bhagwandas is the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court and should have taken the oath of the acting chief justice after Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was made “non-functional” by President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

BBC correspondent Ramdat Tripathi, who was working to locate Justice Bhagwandas, told Dawn on Monday on telephone that the judge was part of an 11-member team from Pakistan now in the small Krishan Nagar town for some spiritual experience. The judge, who is staying in a small room, is on a private visit. He, according to Mr Tripathi, keeps himself busy in meditating worship and avoids mingling with people.

Although Mr Tripathi could not meet the judge, he managed to gather some information from his neighbours, who told him that the judge was aware of the events taking place in Pakistan.

Since the disclosure about the judge’s presence there, the town has been swarming with media personnel.