Profile of Justice Gulzar Ahmed, 27th Chief Justice of Pakistan
Full Name: Gulzar Ahmed
Father’s Name: Noor Muhammad Khan (late), a distinguished lawyer from Karachi
Date of Birth: 2nd February, 1957
- Gulistan School, Karachi;
- B.A. degree from Government National College, Karachi;
- LL.B degree from S.M. Law College, Karachi.
Career as Lawyer:
- Enrolled as an Advocate on 18th January, 1986;
- Enrolled as an Advocate of the High Court on 4th April, 1988;
- Enrolled as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 15th September, 2001;
- Practiced mainly in Civil Law, Labor Law, Banking Law, Company Law and Corporate Law;
- Served as legal advisor to various multinational and local companies, banks and financial institutions;
- Elected as Honorary Secretary of the Sindh High Court Bar Association, Karachi (1999-2000).
Career as Judge:
- Elevated as a Judge of the Sindh High Court on 27th August, 2002;
- Elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 16th November, 2011.
Honors and Achievements:
- Member, Board of Governors, Institute of Business & Technology, NED University of Engineering & Technology, Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology, Iqra University, Ahmed E.H. Jaffer Foundation and Agha Khan University, Karachi.
- Chair, Enrollment Committee of Sindh Bar Council, Karachi.
- Chair, Development Committee and IT Committee of Sindh High Court, Karachi.
- In 2009, attended a study tour for Pakistani judicial officials on International Cooperation in Terrorist Cases sponsored by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime in Vienna, Bonn and Berlin.
- In 2011, attended the 18th Intensive Study Programme for Judicial Educators conducted by Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, Canada, with sessions in Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto and was conferred a fellowship by the Institute.
- In 2013, attended the International Judicial Conference as Co-Chair for the thematic group Parental Child Abduction & Transnational Jurisdiction in Islamabad.
- In 2014, attended workshops of the Federal Judicial Academy, Islamabad and participated in the Competition Law Workshop for Asia-Pacific Judges in Seoul, Korea.
- In 2014, gave an informal lecture on the Judiciary and Judicial System of Pakistan at Seattle University, School of Law, USA.
- In 2015, attended a workshop on Competition Judges at the Economics Institute in Singapore.
- In 2017, attended the 12th Meeting of the Chairs of Supreme Court of SCO Member States in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
- In 2108, participated in a fundraising event in Seattle, USA, for Diamer Basha & Mohmand Dam.
- In 2019, attended the International Conference on Compulsory Execution in Moscow, Russia.
- Chair, Disciplinary Tribunal, Pakistan Bar Council and the Enrolment Committee, Pakistan Bar Council.
- Member, Building Committee of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
- Senior Member, Committee for Law Clerkship Program.
- Judge Incharge Administration, Supreme Court Establishment.
- Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan from 20-28 November, 2018 and 13-17 May, 2019.
- Along with Justice Khosa, gave the decision to disqualify Mian Nawaz Sharif in the 20th April Judgment of Panama Bench (PANAMA 1) and held that, “The Supreme Court cannot be expected to sit as a toothless spectator but it has to rise above the screen of technicalities and give a positive verdict for meeting the ends of justice and also safeguarding the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan.”
- Regarding the Karachi land-grabbing and encroachment cases, ordered the removal/abolishment of commercial activities in residential areas, ordered the demolition of 500 illegal buildings in Karachi and the removal of wedding halls and cinemas from military lands.
- In a case against the Defense Housing Authority, observed that DHA was even selling the sea.
- Heard the case of 10-year-old Amal who was killed in a crossfire between the police and robbers and raised serious concerns about Karachi’s conditions.
- Heard a case pertaining to corruption in the Thar Coal project and in one of the hearings, criticized the Sindh government for not completing the project with transparency.
- In a case pertaining to deaths caused by electrocution during rains in Karachi, termed Karachi’s authorities as failures in fulfilling their responsibilities.
- In a case related to the Federal Board of Revenue, questioned FBR’s performance while criticizing it for being a burden on the economy and not meeting its tax targets despite having employed more than 22,000 people.
- Banned unregistered Qingqi rickshaws across the country.
- In Maula Bux Shaikh and others v Chief Minister Sindh and others, 2018 SCMR 2098, dismissed the petition and refused leave while directing the Government not to allow or permit the performance of professional engineering work (as defined in the Pakistan Engineering Council Act, 1975) by any persons who did not possess accredited engineering qualifications from an accredited engineering institution or did not have their names registered as registered engineers or professional engineers under the said Act.
- In Al-Noor Sugar Mills Limited v Federation of Pakistan, 2018 SCMR 1792 held the burden of taxation to be distributed equally and fairly among taxpayers.
- In Iftikhar Ahmed, I.G. Islamabad v State, 2018 SCMR 1385, held that where an apology had been tendered, it would not automatically absolve the contemnor of contempt and might not necessarily be accepted unless the court considering all relevant circumstances had been satisfied about its bona fide nature. Acceptance or rejection of apology, therefore, depended upon the volume and nature of contempt allegedly committed.
Fundamentals for the acceptance of an apology:
• the apology must be offered at the earliest stage of contempt proceedings;
• it must be unconditional, unreserved and unqualified;
• it should not only appear to be sincere but must also satisfactorily represent sincere and genuine remorse and should not be half-hearted or a mere formality; and
• the contemnor should not endeavor to justify his or her conduct.
- In Suo Motu Contempt Proceedings (Talal Chaudhry case), PLD 2018 SC 773 held that the principle of judicial restraint was not a universal principle to be applied in each and every case as every case required to be dealt with in terms of its own peculiar facts and circumstances. The alleged contemnor had committed contempt of court within the meaning of Article 204 of the Constitution, read with Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 and had made himself liable for punishment. The alleged contemnor was convicted and sentenced under Sections 3 and 5 of the said Ordinance and punished with imprisonment till the rising of the court with a fine of PKR 100,000.
- In Engineers Study forum (Registered) v Federation of Pakistan, 2016 SCMR 1961 held that the review jurisdiction of the Supreme Court did not allow for the rehearing of a case already decided by the Supreme Court. Similarly, grounds not urged or raised at the time of hearing of the judgment under review could not be allowed to be raised at the review proceeding. The Supreme Court had the power to review its own judgment where errors in the judgment/order under review were self-evident and floating on the surface of record and had material bearing on the final result of the case.
- In Tanveer Bibi v S.H.O. Police Station Mandi Bahauddin, 2016 SCMR 1287, a mother was legally entitled to the custody of her minor children whose father had gone abroad, keeping in view the welfare and best interests of the minors.
- In Province of Sindh v Syed Kabir Bokhari, 2016 SCMR 101, held that the government and its departments were bound to act justly and fairly towards citizens and if any loss had been caused to a citizen as a result of illegal and unlawful conduct by the government and/or the officials of its departments, the citizens were entitled to be appropriately compensated. Such principle was a fundamental rule and also a principle of equity.
- In Pakistan Telecommunication Employers Trust (PTET) v Muhammad Arif, 2015 SCMR 1472, held that pension was part of a civil servant’s retirement benefit and was not a bounty or ex gratia payment but a right acquired in consideration of his or her past service which was a vested right with legitimate expectation. The right to pension was conferred by law which could not be arbitrarily abridged or reduced except in accordance with law.
- In Jamshoro Joint Venture v Khawaja Muhammad Asif, 2014 SCMR 1858, held that the final draft of the implementation agreement to be signed between SSGCL and JJVL was neither approved by the Board of Directors of SSGCL nor had the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources been informed of the same. The review petition was dismissed accordingly.
- In 2013 SCMR 1034, held that the Supreme Court, while exercising jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, had ample power to adjudicate upon and consider the question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by the Constitution – jurisdiction of the Supreme Court would not be fettered or restricted merely for the reason that some suit was pending on any of the questions involved in the constitutional petition, for that would be of subordinate consideration when dealing with the question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights which were of supreme importance and had wider connotation and implication for the public at large. The principle of judicial review applied to the exercise of contractual powers by government bodies in order to prevent arbitrariness, favouritism or violation of the terms of the tender and absence of transparency in the award of the contract. The court had the power to decide on the question of legality i.e. whether the authority had exceeded its powers, committed error of law, committed breach of rules of natural justice, reached a decision which a reasonable person could not have reached or abused its power.