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‘My Conscience is Clear’

by Newsweek Pakistan

Supreme Court of Pakistan

Outgoing Chief Justice of Pakistan hopes history will look favorably upon his tenure as head of Supreme Court

Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa on Friday bid farewell to the Supreme Court during a full-court reference marking his retirement, saying he was laying down his robes “with a conscience, which is clear as crystal.”

Addressing a gathering ahead of his retirement from service at midnight today, Khosa said he had always given 100 percent dedication to his nearly 20-year career in the judiciary. “I always did what I thought was right and was worth doing,” he said, adding, “I tried to perform beyond the call of duty, never raised my voice, spoke mainly through my pen, never delayed a judgment unduly.”

The outgoing chief justice said he had always tried to “dispense justice according to law and without fear or favor, affection or ill-will.” He said he could not judge if his legal opinions were correct but hoped that history would look upon him favorably and find the sincerity of his efforts. He said that during his tenure as chief justice, he had discouraged the practice of adjournments and had helped reduce a massive backlog of pending appeals.

“An all out effort was undertaken to put our house in order with an approach focused on improving the justice delivery system,” he said, adding the “image of court as a dignified judicial forum sitting at the apex of judicial hierarchy was maintained, the principle of separation of powers was adhered to, judicial restraint was exercised and dignity and respect was ensured for all appearing before the Court as lawyers, litigants or officials.”

Earlier, ahead of his speech, Khosa said there appeared to be a campaign underway to defame him and the judiciary. He once more rejected reports that he had influenced, in any way, the high treason case against former Army chief Pervez Musharraf.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the attorney general at the reference, Deputy Attorney General Amir Rehman praised Khosa for deciding 55,000 criminal cases, as well as 10,000 criminal cases. However, he also used the opportunity to advance the government’s criticism of the special court’s verdict in the high treason case. “The special court did not follow Khosa’s principles in deciding cases. Their conduct runs contrary to the conduct of the court’s top judges,” he said.

Following Khosa’s retirement, Justice Gulzar Ahmed will take oath as the 27th chief justice of Pakistan tomorrow (Saturday). In his address, Justice Ahmed paid rich tribute to his predecessor and termed the outgoing chief justice a judge “par excellence” and “a person of extraordinary intellect, unmatched integrity and outstanding erudition.”

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