Pakistan’s former chief justice addresses conference in Israel, recalls his confrontational days during Musharraf era
Pakistan’s former Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani on Thursday addressed a conference in at Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he recalled his confrontational days of the judiciary with former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf
Pakistan’s former Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani on Thursday addressed a conference in at Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he recalled his confrontational days of the judiciary with former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf.
In his address, Jillani, who served as the chief justice of Pakistan in the tumultuous days of 2013-2014, talked about the paramount importance of fighting for judicial independence. He also shared the connection between his fight for judicial independence during the Musharraf era with Hebrew University.
In 2007, Jillani was one of several senior Pakistani Supreme Court judges, who refused to take oath under President Pervez Musharraf, protesting against the illegal emergency imposed by him. He was then forcefully retired and detained.
Sharing his personal account during the three-day International Conference on Judicial Independence, he recalled how a book by an Israeli professor, Shimon Shetreet, helped in fighting Musharraf’s attempt to suppress judicial independence in Pakistan. A former senior politician, Shetreet is currently the Greenblatt Chair of Public and International Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Jillani said Musharraf had misquoted a line from a book by Shetreet out of context but refused to share the original copy of the book with him to check the full passage, reported the Express Tribune. The former judge eventually managed to the original copy from the author.
Jilani recalled how judges’ refusal to take oath under Musharraf —and their subsequent illegal dismissal by the former military dictator—intensified lawyers’ protest which ultimately forced him to step down from power.
Known for several landmark judgments on women’s rights, honor killings, and the right to education, Jillani is known for his advocacy of a wider perspective of religious freedom in Pakistan.