ISLAMABAD, Dec 5: Out of the 12 Supreme Court judges who in May 2000 had validated the military takeover of Oct 12, 1999, under the doctrine of necessity, six have retired while the rest have been given extension in service of three years each.

Of the six retired judges, Justice Rashid Aziz Khan had to leave the institution along with Justice Malik Qayyum for showing ‘bias’ in a case against Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, while Justice Jehangiri and Justice Ijaz Nisar went home with honour.

Of the remaining three, Justice Irshad Hasan Khan was made the Chief Election Commissioner for three years with all the perks and privileges he had been enjoying while serving as the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Justice Chaudhry Mohammad Arif, after the retirement, has become the Chief Justice of an African country, Gambia.

The offer had come to the Government of Pakistan through the foreign office and Justice Chaudhry was nominated by the government for the post.

Justice Abdur Rehman Khan has been appointed as the member of Federal Public Service Commission.

The present six judges — Justice Shaikh Riaz Ahmad, Justice Munir A. Sheikh, Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, and Justice Rana Bhagwandas have been given an extension of three years.

The military government has also raised salaries of the judiciary manifold at a time when the salaries of all government officials including personnel of lower judiciary, have remained frozen.

In January 2002, the President increased the salary of the Supreme and high court judges by an average 30 per cent.The salary of a Supreme Court judge was raised to Rs52,000 against his earlier salary of Rs40,000. The salary of a high court judge is fixed at Rs49,000 per month. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has been given an increase of Rs12,000 per month and he will now draw Rs55,000. The increase was made from Dec 1, 2001.

Apart from the salary, a judge of the Supreme Court is entitled to free residence, all utility bills, officially-maintained car, cook, driver and a guard at his residence, all paid by the government.

After the retirement, a judge of the superior court is entitled to pension equivalent to 70 per cent of his salary or an average Rs37,000 along with the facility of commutation of pension up to 40 per cent.

A retired judge of the superior court is also entitled to 200 litres of petrol per month, telephone bills for 1,000 local calls, 1,000 electricity units, 12,000 cubic feet of gas, and water free of cost — or an average package of around Rs30,000.

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