Sunday, February 22, 2015

GOODBYE NASIM HASSAN SHAH (Justice)



The inspiring man, with a height of 56 inches only, overcame his handicap by becoming the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He worked in this capacity from April 17, 1993, to April 14, 1994.He possessed a brilliant academic career, having doctorate of law (with distinction) from Paris University. He had a successful legal practice when he was appointed as a high court judge at the age of 39. He retired as the chief justice of Pakistan at the age of 65, the longest tenure of a judge in the history of the subcontinent. He was Nasim Hassan Shah- the former Chief Justice who passed away on Tuesday (4th February, 2015) in Lahore after a prolonged illness.



Justice Nasim Hassan Shah was born to Syed Mohsin Shah in Lahore on April 15, 1929. He also served as the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman. He was 86 and is survived by three daughters and a widow.


Judges and senior lawyers of the country expressed sorrow and grief over his demise and called him a role model for all the people who fail to actively perform in the society owing to some complexes.


According to Wikipedia Encyclopedia, perhaps the only time in Pakistans' Judicial History a petition against a Former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan was filed, seeking registration of a case against him on charges of abetting in the "murder" of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. A division bench comprising Justices Sheikh Abdur Rashid and Bilal Khan held that the petition hardly qualified for processing because the judge of a bench could not be proceeded against in a case which had already been decided.

 

The members of the bench felt that petitioner Mian Mohammad Hanif Tahir of the People's Lawyers Forum(PLF) was hardly prepared to address legal aspects of the case and questions arising out of the petition. Instead, he was agitating legal points in a political manner.One member of the bench remarked; In a situation where the judgment of a case was effective for citation as a reference, an ambiguous statement of one of the members of a panel of judges hearing the case, could in no way prejudice the decision after two decades. If such things were allowed to happen, the whole judicial system would collapse.



The PLF leader Hanif Tahir had quoted the former chief justice as saying in two of his press interviews that the Supreme Court judgment in the appeal of the late Bhutto against his death sentence awarded by the Lahore High Court, was a wrong decision and it was a fit case for lesser punishment.



The petitioner submitted that Mr Shah was part of the 7-member bench of the Supreme Court which upheld the death penalty. He contended that comments of the former chief justice amounted to a confessional statement and that he had shown no such sentiments while agreeing with the majority opinion of apex court's bench which confirmed the execution of Mr Bhutto.



When the proceedings began, the petitioner requested the court that a larger bench be constituted to hear the case which was of paramount importance. Rejecting the request, the court informed Mr Tahir tFIRs were usually heard by a single bench. It was because of the nature of case that the chief justice had constituted a division bench.
hat petitions seeking registration of

Later, the petitioner requested for time to collect evidence and sought an adjournment. The court refused to do so and directed him to argue his case as he should have gathered evidence before coming to the court.



The petitioner started with quotes from the interview of Mr Shah. The court asked him if such quotes, taken from a television interview, carried any legal significance. When the petitioner submitted that the text of interview was a "public document", the court asked the lawyer to define the legality of public documents and remarked that points raised in the petition were based on hearsay.



As for petitioner's contention that Mr Shah had made a confessional statement in his interview, the court directed him to examine the relevant law to know what a confessional statement was and if it carried a legal weight if given on a non-judicial or extrajudicial forum. He must also differentiate between a press statement and a legal statement recorded in a court of law. The bench of the Lahore High Court on 12 February 2004 dismissed in limina.

 

On 25 February 2010, President Asif Ali Zardari said in Quetta: "I believe former Justice Naseem Hassan Shah as the murderer of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto."

Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Azam Nazir Tarar said Dr Shah was a great man who overcame his disability and earned a good career. He was a role model for others, Azam Nazir said.

Activism Penal Chairman Azhar Siddique said that Dr Nasim Hasan Shah was one of the legends of legal fraternity. He always worked for the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution. Azhar Siddique, however, said Dr Shah’s decision in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s case was against the norms of justice, adding the deceased himself had admitted negation of right to free trial in that case, which had become part of the Constitution through Article 10-A of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.