Visit Supreme Court of Pakistan from Islamabad

The Supreme Court has a permanent seat in Islamabad. It also has a number of Branch Registries where cases are heard. The court has a number of de jure powers, outlined in the Constitution. Through several periods of military rule and constitutional suspensions (see Doctrine of necessity), the court has also established itself as a de facto check on military power. It has the appellate jurisdiction over all high courts (including provincial high courts, district courts, and special courts) and federal courts, as well as original jurisdiction over a few types of cases. The Supreme Court is made up of a chief justice and a number of senior justices who are nominated by the President after consulting the Prime minister. Once appointed justices are expected to complete a designated term and then retire, unless they are removed by the Supreme Judicial Council after receiving a presidential reference regarding misconduct of judge(s).

De jure power refers to powers that a court has under the law, though they may not be carried out or have full effect in practice. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has the explicit de jure power to block the exercise of certain Presidential reserve powers. The de jure powers of the court as outlined in the Constitution can only be understood in the context of Pakistan's political history, during which the armed forces has seized power, declared martial law and suspended the constitution. Despite the military interventions in the government, the court has maintained its institutional integrity and has been able to maintain its authority to some degree in the face of military rule. Since in 1970, Bengali Chief Justice Hamoodor Rahman published the reports of Hamoodur Rahman Commission, formed to investigate the failure and fall of East-Pakistan. The de facto powers of the Supreme Court increased immensely thereafter. In 1977 the Supreme Court legitimized the 1977 Pakistani coup dactat (see Operation Fair Play). On 8 March 1978 the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was executed on 4 April 1979 by the orders of Supreme Court.

On 12 October 1999 however, the Supreme Court ordered that chairman joint chiefs General Pervez Musharraf could only allow military rule to remain in place for three years. The supreme court began hearing the corruption cases and hijacking controversy against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and found him guilty after sentencing him life imprisonment in a short trial. As a result, Musharraf held a national referendum on 30 April 2002, followed by general elections on October 2002, a move that substantially validated the return of democracy. The supreme court supervised the 2002 general elections and successfully oversaw the transition of powers to President to prime minister of Pakistan. The political powers of supreme court were further extended and solidified its political position in 2004 when Shaukat Aziz became prime minister. Aziz's economy policy measure programmes expanded the political role of Supreme Court of Pakistan in a higher level of the government and to target high-level of governmentcorruption independently without government interferences or government influence.

The first ever Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) was declared by General Zia ul Haq on 25 March 1981.The second PCO in the history of Pakistan was declared by General Pervez Musharraf on 14 October 1999. When the PCO was proclaimed, at first the judiciary was not asked to take an oath. On 26 January 2000 Musharraf issued an order "Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2000" that required the judiciary to take oath of office under the PCO. The then Chief Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui and 5 other judges of the Supreme Court refused to take any oath in contravention to the oath they took under the 1973 Constitution, when they became judges. On 30 November 1997, Sharif appeared before the Supreme Court along with party workers, members, chief ministers, and constituents to hear the proceedings. Unruly party workers stormed into the Supreme Court, forcing Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah to remove the finding of contempt against Sharif. Hundreds of PML-N supporters and members of its youth wing, the Muslim Students Front (MSF), breached the police barrier around the courthouse when defence lawyer S.M. Zafar was arguing Sharif's case. A journalist rushed into the courtroom and warned the bench of an impending attack. The Chief Justice rose abruptly, thanked Zafar and adjourned the hearing. The justices quickly left the courtroom but workers were able to enter, shouting slogans and damaging furniture.

Located at: Supreme Court of Pakistan, Islamabad, Pakistan
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