Federal Shariat Court

Federal Shariat Court

Emblem of the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan
Established 1980
Country Pakistan
Location Constitution Avenue,opposite Prime Minister's Secretariat - Pakistan Islamabad
Composition method Presidential with confirmation of Chief Justice of Pakistan
Authorized by Constitution of Pakistan
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of Pakistan
Judge term length up to 3 years; further term possible
Number of positions not more than 8
Website Federal Shariat Court
Chief Justice
Currently Riaz Ahmad Khan
Since March 7, 2015

The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) of Pakistan is a court which has the power to examine and determine whether the laws of the country comply with Shari'a law. It consists of 8 Muslim judges appointed by the President of Pakistan after consulting the Chief Justice of this Court, from amongst the serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court or a High Court or from amongst persons possessing the qualifications of judges of a High Court. Justice Fida Muhammad Khan is the current Chief Justice of the court. Of the 8 judges, 3 are required to be Ulema who are well versed in Islamic law. The judges hold office for a period of 3 years, which may eventually be extended by the President.

Appeal against its decisions lie to the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court, consisting of 3 Muslim judges of the Supreme Court and 2 Ulema, appointed by the President. If any part of the law is declared to be against Islamic law, the government is required to take necessary steps to amend such law appropriately.

The court also exercises revisional jurisdiction over the criminal courts, deciding Hudood cases. The decisions of the court are binding on the High Courts as well as subordinate judiciary. The court appoints its own staff and frames its own rules of procedure.

Ever since its establishment in 1980, the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan has been the subject of criticism and controversy in the society. Created as an islamisation measure by the military regime and subsequently protected under the controversial 8th Amendment, its opponents question the very rationale and utility of this institution. It is stated that this court merely duplicates the functions of the existing superior courts and also operates as a check on the sovereignty of Parliament. The composition of the court, particularly the mode of appointment of its judges and the insecurity of their tenure, is taken exception to, and it is alleged, that this court does not fully meet the criterion prescribed for the independence of the judiciary. That is to say, it is not immune to pressures and influences from the Executive.

In March 1981, the court ruled in an adultery appeal that stoning people to death was `repugnant to the injunctions of Islam,` a decision that upset ruling General Zia ul-Haq, and Islamic revivalists. Zia ul-Haq then replaced several members of the court, and the decision was reversed.[1]

In 1982 the Federal Shariat Court ruled that there is no prohibition in the Qur'an or hadith about the judgeship of woman nor any restriction limiting the function of deciding disputes to men only.[2] In 2013 Ashraf Jehan became the first female justice of the Federal Shariat Court.[3]

The fact that lawyers make up a permanent majority of judges of the court, outnumbering Islamic ulama, has been credited with the court finding "technical flaws in every stoning and amputation appeal that it has ever heard", preventing the carrying out sentences amputating limbs and killing by stoning.[1]

Honourable Chief Justice and Judges

Sr. No Name of the Judge designation Date of Appointment Date of Retirement Former Position
1 Justice Fida Muhammad Khan Judge 02-08-1988
05-07-2011 reappointed
2 Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan Chief Justice 05-06-2009 04-06-2014[4] Sindh High Court
3 Justice Rizwan Ali Dodani Judge 05-07-2011 04-07-2014 Sindh High Court Bar Association
Islamabad High Court Bar Association
4 Justice Ashraf Jahan Judge 30-12-2013
31-10-2015 reappointed
Sindh High Court
5 Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan Chief Justice 05-06-2014 05-12-2014 Supreme Court of Pakistan
6 Justice Sheikh Najam ul Hassan Judge 08-08-2014 Lahore High Court
7 Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan Judge
Chief Justice
Islamabad High Court
8 Justice Zahoor Ahmed Shahwani Judge 08-08-2014 Balochistan High Court Bar Association
9 Mr. Justice Riaz Ahmad khan Judge 07-03-2015 Judge of Islamabad High Court

See also


External links

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