Federal Shariat Court
|Federal Shariat Court|
Emblem of the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan
|Location||Constitution Avenue, opposite Prime Minister's Office - Pakistan Islamabad|
|Decisions are appealed to||Supreme Court of Pakistan|
|No. of positions||Not more than 8|
|Website||Federal Shariat Court|
|Currently||Sheikh Najmul Hassan|
The Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan, abbreviated as FSC, is a prestigious court which has the power to examine and determine whether the laws of the country comply with Islamic Shari'a law. This court was set up in 1980 and is located in the federal capital, Islamabad.
Court structure and mandate
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 Najmul Hassan Sheikh is the current Chief Justice of the court in 2017. 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 Pakistani society. Created as an islamisation measure by the military regime of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq 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 branch of the government.
Court's history of cases
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 above-mentioned decision was reversed.
In 1982, the Federal Shariat Court ruled that there is no prohibition in the Qur'an or Hadith about the judgeship of a woman nor any restriction limiting the function of deciding disputes to men only. In 2013 Ashraf Jehan became the first female justice of the Federal Shariat Court.
In February 2017, the court issued its ruling on test-tube babies and validated its use conditionally. The Nation reported, "The Federal Shariat Court yesterday declared the option of using 'test tube baby' method for conceiving babies for the married couples having some medical complications as lawful."
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 of sentences amputating limbs and killing by stoning.
Honourable Chief Justice and Judges
|Sr. No||Name of the Judge||designation||Date of Appointment||Date of Retirement||Former Position|
|1||Justice Sheikh Najam ul Hassan||Judge
|Lahore High Court|
|2||Justice Fida Mohammad Khan||Judge
|3||Justice Mehmood Maqbool Bajwa||Judge||10-08-2017||Lahore High Court|
|4||Justice Syed Muhammad Farooq Shah||Judge||06-02-2018||05-02-2021|
|5||Shaukat Ali Rakhshani||Judge||06-02-2018||05-02-2021|
- CJP nominates Shariat court top judge, The Express Tribune (newspaper), Published 13 April 2017, Retrieved 15 November 2018
- Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan on Encyclopedia Britannica, Retrieved 15 November 2018
- Kadri, Sadakat (2012). Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari'a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia . Macmillan. p. 229. ISBN 9780099523277.
- Ansar Burney v. Federation of Pakistan, PLD 1983 FSC 73–93; reaffirmed in Mian Hammad Murtaza v. Federation of Pakistan, PLD 2011 FSC 117
- "Pakistan Shariat court gets first woman judge". hindustantimes.com website. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
- Women's protection act challenged in Federal Shariat Court, Dawn (newspaper), Updated 4 March 2016, Retrieved 15 November 2018
- Federal Shariat Court validates test-tube babies conditionally, The Nation, Published 22 February 2017, Retrieved 15 November 2018