LAHORE, Jan 4: The retirement of chief justice of Pakistan and two other Supreme Court judges, scheduled earlier for 2003, has been stretched to 2006, following the enforcement of an amendment on Jan 1, prescribing three-year extension in the retirement age of both Supreme Court and high court judges.

Article 179 of the Constitution was amended through the Legal Framework Order (LFO) on Oct 10, 2002, under which the retirement age of SC Judges was enhanced from 65 to 68 years. However, the amendment was not enforced on the same date.

The new seniority list of the 37 Lahore High Court judges was issued on Thursday (Jan 2), confirming the enforcement of amendment to Article 195 of the Constitution governing the retirement age of high court judges.

Following the enforcement of the amendment, Chief Justice Sheikh Riaz Ahmad who was to attain the age of retirement on March 8, 2003, under the previous law would now retire in 2006. Two other SC judges — Justice Munir A. Sheikh and Justice Qazi Mohammad Farooq — would now retire on July 1 and Jan 5, 2006, respectively.

Under the new seniority list of the Supreme Court judges, the first judge to retire within next three years would be Justice Qazi Mohammad Farooq (with no judge retiring this year).

The extended date of retirement for the remaining 14 judges of the SC stands as:

Justice Tanveer Ahmad Khan (Jan 16, 2007), Justice Mian Mohammad Ajmal (Aug 14, 2007), Justice Syed Deedar Hussain Shah (Dec 10, 2007), Justice Hamid Ali Mirza (Sept 2008), Justice Rana Bhagwandas (Dec 19, 2010), Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi (June 6, 2011), Justice Falak Sher (Sept 21, 2011), Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar (March 21, 2012), Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday (Jan 12, 2013), Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan (Feb 9, 2013), Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar (April 15, 2013), Justice Javed Iqbal (July 30, 2014), Justice Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry (Dec 19, 2016).

One ad hoc judge, Justice Karamat Nazir Bhandari, will retire on Aug 17, 2009.

SCBA: Urging the legislature to abrogate this amendment, the Supreme Court Bar Association President, Hamid Khan, said the government had enforced it to prolong the tenure of judges whose oath was administered under the PCO.

SCBA executive committee member Tariq Aziz said the enforcement of the amendment was a clear violation of the Constitution since the Supreme Court, while deciding the Zafar Ali Shah case in May 2000, had observed that the then chief executive could not make any amendment regarding affairs of judiciary.

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