Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid

Published on by KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ

The Honourable Justice (R) Nasir Aslam Zahid (Urdu: ناصر اسلم زاہد‎; born 3 February 1935, Barrister-at-Law, is one of the most respected names of Pakistani judiciary. Son of the first Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Mr. Zahid Hussain, Nasir Aslam Zahid has remained the Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court and then a judge of the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan and Supreme Court of Pakistan. He gained more honour and respect when he resigned from the Supreme Court of Pakistan instead of taking oath of the office according to Gen. Pervez Musharraf's Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).

Early life

Nasir Aslam Zahid was born in a small hilly town Mussoorie, near Delhi, British India. His father, Zahid Hussain was a finance officer, and also served chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, and later been Pakistani High Commissioner in India.

Education

Justice Nasir matriculated from Karachi's St Patrick's High School, did his BA at Government College Lahore and went on to University of Cambridge (Fitzwilliam House) to study law and gain an Honours Degree. In 1956 he was called to the Bar from the Middle Temple.

Career

Barrister Zahid enrolled as an advocate of the Sindh High Court in 1957, and of the Supreme Court in 1962. He was elevated to the Bench of the SHC as an Additional Judge in 1980, and in 1983 was made a permanent judge. The second of the Pakistan Peoples Party government temporarily removed him from the Bench in 1988 to send him off on deputation as the federal law secretary, a post he held until June 1990 when he returned to the SHC. From January 1991 to the end of April of that year he moved to the Supreme Court as an ad hoc Judge. He had several spells acting as Chief Justice of Sindh, during the absence of the sitting Chief Justice, and in May 1992 took over as permanent Chief Justice. By 1994, Justice Zahid s independence could be tolerated no more by the harsh law enforcement agencies, backed by the executive. A relief-giving judge, he afforded no quarter to the agencies or the government prosecuting authorities. He was moved to the Federal Shariat Court on April 16 of that year, without his consent, for a period of two years. A tribute to the man. By right and according to the Supreme Court judgement of March 20, in April of this year he should have returned to the SHC to resume the chief justiceship. But, he was instead elevated as a permanent judge of the Supreme Court. However, he continued his contribution towards the dispensing of justice to the people of Pakistan up to the year 2000, and resigned from the Supreme Court of Pakistan instead of taking oath of the office according to Gen. Pervez Musharraf's Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), which would have required the judges never to find illegality in the new government, no matter its actions.[1]

Contribution and activities

He is deeply involved in human rights issues and judicial education, and has spent much of his private time since retirement on dealing with women’s legal concerns. He serves as Dean, Faculty of Legal Studies and Head of Hamdard School of Law at the Hamdard University, Karachi since October 2000.
Justice Zahid had a collaboration with the Government of Sindh, Pakistan for the establishment of a Committee for the Welfare of Women Prisoner of Special Prison for Women at Karachi. However, in the year 2009 the work was expended to included Juveniles and Male Prisoners of all 22 prisons of Sindh.
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