Pakistan’s new chief justice took his oath of office yesterady after his outspoken predecessor retired, ending an eight-year turbulent and at times controversial era.
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain administered swore in Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani after Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry stepped down a day earlier.
PakistaniPrime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry and other top government officials, including ministers, attended the ceremony.
Chaudhry, originally appointed in 2005 during the military rule of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf and who came to be one of the architects of the former general’s downfall, has divided opinion.
Some have praised him for fearlessly taking on politicians and security agencies, while others have criticized him for exceeding the proper authority of the chief justice and interfering in political matters.
In June last year, he chaired a Pakistani Supreme Court bench that sacked then-Pakistaniprime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after convicting him of contempt of court.
The move, likened by some observers to a “judicial coup,” marked the culmination of a long-running tussle between the judiciary and the government led by the Pakistan People’s Party over corruption allegations against then-Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari.
Chaudhry has also taken on Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies, which are often seen as untouchable, demanding they explain the fate of missing persons believed to have disappeared into their custody.
Legal circles see the 64-year-old Jillani to be a far quieter presence.
Jillani has been a Supreme Court judge since 2004 and, like Chaudhry, was sacked when Musharraf imposed emergency rule in November 2007.