Federal Shariat Court
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|Federal Shariat Court|
Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan, Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan 2009–2014
|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|
|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.
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. In 2013 Ashraf Jehan became the first female justice of the Federal Shariat Court.
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.
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
|2||Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan||Chief Justice||05-06-2009||04-06-2014||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
||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
|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|
- 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". Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- cf. "Five-year service needed to get pension". Retrieved 5 August 2014.