LAHORE, March 10: Former chief justice of the Lahore High Court, a judge of the Supreme Court and Punjab governor Aslam Riaz Husain died of a cardiac arrest here on Wednesday. He was 80.

He was the son of illustrious parents, Barrister Dr Tasaddaq Husain, a poet and an assistant advocate-general of the Punjab before partition, and political activist Begum Salma Tasaddaq Husain, who has been one of the two women MLAs in the Punjab elected on the All-India Muslim League ticket in 1946 along with Begum Shahnawaz.

He was laid to rest at the family's graveyard at Shadman Colony in the afternoon. The funeral prayers were offered on the lawns outside his residence in Gulberg which were largely attended.

Educated at the Central Model School and then the Government College in Lahore, Aslam Riaz Husain was a college fellow of Justice Dr Javid Iqbal (retired) and had frequent opportunities of meeting Allama Iqbal who loved him like a son.

He called on the bar in Lahore in 1949 and then left for the UK for higher education in law. He joined the Lincoln's Inn from where he did his Bar-at-Law in 1958.

In 1962 he was appointed an assistant advocate-general, the office which he held till 1969 when he was promoted as an additional advocate-general of West Pakistan. He was made a judge of the West Pakistan High Court in 1970. He became the chief justice of the Lahore High Court in 1972 and continued in the office till 1977.

Justice Aslam Riaz Husain was appointed the Punjab governor soon after Gen Ziaul Haq imposed martial law. Before that he presided over a Lahore High Court bench which declared as illegal the imposition of martial law in the aftermath of the Pakistan National Alliance's movement against the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto regime. He was succeeded by Lt-Gen Ghulam Jilani Khan as the Punjab governor.

He became a judge of the Supreme Court in 1978 and served till 1989. He was a member of the 11-member bench which upheld the death sentence of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. His last assignment was as the federal ombudsman. In fact, he was the first ombudsman and served the office till his retirement in 1990.

Justice Aslam Riaz Husain was eighth on the seniority list when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's government picked him for appointment as the Lahore High chief justice replacing Sardar Muhammad Iqbal. Maulvi Mushtaq Ahmad was on the top of the list but was bypassed.

As for his parents, Barrister Dr Tasaddaq Husain was one of those men of law who had an equal fondness for literature. He was a poet and was among those who, along with Noon Meem Rashid, started new trend of free verse in poetry. Justice Aslam Riaz published his father's collection of poems in book form. He also had to his credit another book of poetry.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court did no work after midday as a mark of respect for the former chief justice. He is survived by a wife, two sons and two daughters. Qul will be held between Asr and Maghrib prayers at 54-Main Gulberg on Thursday (today).

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