Muhammad Rafiq Tarar

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Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
محمد رفیق تارڑ
9th President of Pakistan
In office
1 January 1998 – 20 June 2001
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Preceded by Farooq Leghari
Succeeded by Pervez Musharraf
Senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan
In office
17 January 1991 – 1 November 1994
Nominated by Benazir Bhutto
Appointed by Ghulam Ishaq Khan
Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court
In office
6 March 1989 – 31 October 1991
Appointed by Tikka Khan
Preceded by Abdul Shakurul Salam
Succeeded by Mian Mahboob Ahmad
Personal details
Born (1929-11-02) 2 November 1929 (age 86)
Ghakhar Mandi,[1] Punjab, British Raj
(now in Punjab, Pakistan)
Citizenship Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Political party Pakistan Muslim League(N) (1988–present)
Alma mater Punjab University
Profession Jurist
Cabinet Sharif Cabinet
Religion Islam

Muhammad Rafiq Tarar (Listeni//;English IPA:rəfɪ̈kʰ ʔɑr(ə)ɹ (Urdu: محمد رفیق تارڑ‎; b. 2 November 1929), is a retired senior justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the ninth President of Pakistan, serving from 1998 until voluntarily resigning in the favour of Pervez Musharraf in 2000.[2]

By profession, a jurist, legal and Islamic scholar, Tarar enjoyed a distinguished career in the court system of Pakistan and is a veteran activist of historical Pakistan Movement. By virtue of the extraconstitutional order in 2001, Tarar was controversially replaced by Pervez Musharraf after tendering resignation.[3]


Early life and education[edit]

Muhammad Rafiq Tarar was born in Pirkot village in Ghakhar Mandi,[1] a rural locality in Gujranwala District of Punjab, of the British India on 2 November 1929. His family was a practising Deobandi-sect of Islam.[4] After graduating from Islamia College, Tarar enrolled at the Punjab University where he received BA in Islamic Studies in 1949. During his college years, Tarar was an activist of Muslim League and an admirer Jinnah.[5]

During the independence of Pakistan, Tarar performed voluntary duty as a relief worker in camps set up by Muslim Students Federation for Indian emigrants, migrating from the riot-torn India to Pakistan.[2] Tarar enrolled at the Law College of Punjab University and graduated with the LLB in 1951.[2]

After graduation, he enrolled as a Pleader in Lahore High Court.[2]

Judicial career[edit]

In 1951, he enrolled as a Pleader in Lahore High Court.[2] He also enrolled as an Advocate in the Lahore High Court in October 1955.[2] In 1960s, he established his own law firm in Gujranwala, and passed the Bar exams to be elevated as judge in District Courts and session judge.[2]

In 1971, he became Chairman of the Punjab Labor Court and appointed as a judge at Lahore High Court in October 1974 and later became the Chief Justice of the same court in 1989.[2] Earlier, during his days as Judge of the Lahore High Court, he also served as a member of the Election Commission of Pakistan where he represented Punjab.[2] In 1991, Tara was appointed as Judge of the Supreme Court in January 1991, from which he retired in November 1994 on attaining the age of 65 years.[2]

Following his retirement from the Judiciary in March 1997, Tarar moved from a legal to a political career, joining the PML(N).[2] After securing the party ticket, he was elected as Senator in 1997.[2]

President of Pakistan[edit]

After Farooq Leghari's resignation in 1997, he was nominated as a candidate for the President of Pakistan.[6] On 31 December 1997, in an indirect election, Tarar was elected by a huge margin,[7] getting 374 of 457 votes of the Electoral College against Aftab Mirani of PPP (a PML(N)'s rival) who got 31 votes, and Muhammad Shirani of JUI(S) who got 22 votes.[2] This was the largest margin in such elections.[8][2]

Upon becoming President, Tarar seemed to be an unassuming and ceremonial figurehead who kept a low profile, and avoided news media.[2] He readily signed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution of Pakistan that limited the powers of the presidency.[9]

The Presidency of Pakistan's powers had been slowly removed over the years, culminating in the 1997 Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan which removed virtually all remaining reserve powers, making the office almost entirely symbolic in nature as per the true spirit of the Pakistani constitution.[10]

Tarar did not endorse the 1999 Pakistani coup d'état by the Pakistani military which elevated General Pervez Musharraf, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.[2] From 1999–2001, he had severe confrontation with the military that decided not retain Tarar as the President till his full term of five years.[2] On 21 June 2001, General Musharraf who acted as Chief Executive in capacity, enforced the extraconstitutional order which prompted Tarar to resign from the controversially presidency.

Many in Pakistan believes that Tarar did not resign but rather was forced to do it by General Musharraf as he read the paragraph: "Mr. Muhammad Rafiq Tarar has ceased to hold the office of the President with immediate effect."[3]


Tarar retired from the national politics and settled in Lahore.[3]

In Pakistan, Tarar is a highly respected figure and noted for his honesty, loyalty, devotion to justice and a firm, religious faith in Islam.[2] He retained a good friendship with Nawaz Sharif and is a close family friend of the Sharif family.[2] His ex-daughter in law, Saira Tarar, is a key member of Third Sharif ministry, serving in Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Rafiq Tarar's BirthPlace". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Administrator/Staff worker (1 June 2003). "Muhammad Rafiq Tarar" (html). Story of Pakistan Press. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Reddy, B. Muralidhar (21 June 2001). "Rafiq Tarar forced to quit?". The Hindu. The Hindu. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Chitkara (2001, p. 118-119)
  5. ^ Zakaria (2001, p. 232-233)
  6. ^ staff worker (1 January 1998). "Tarar sworn in as Pakistani president". BBC Pakistan Bureau. BBC Pakistan Bureau. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  7. ^ . Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Retrieved 9 May 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Preston (2003, p. 229-235)
  9. ^ Jones (2003, p. 31-35)
  10. ^ 12th Parliament of Pakistan (1973). Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (13th Amendment ed.). 12th Parliament of Pakistan. 
  11. ^ "State Minister List—Saira Afzal tarar". Prime Minister Office Website. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Abdul Shakurul Salam
Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court
Succeeded by
Mian Mahboob Ahmad
Political offices
Preceded by
Wasim Sajjad
President of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Pervez Musharraf