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Tassaduq Hussain Jillani

The Honourable
Tassaduq Hussain Jillani
تصدق حسین جیلانی
Chief Justice of Pakistan
In office
11 December 2013 – 5 July 2014
Nominated by Nawaz Sharif
Preceded by Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
Succeeded by Nasir-ul-Mulk
Chief Election Commissioner
In office
17 August 2013 – 30 November 2013
Preceded by Fakhruddin Ebrahim
Succeeded by Nasir-ul-Mulk
Senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan
In office
31 July 2004 – 12 December 2014
Personal details
Born (1949-07-06) 6 July 1949
Multan, Pakistan
Alma mater Forman Christian College
University of the Punjab
University of London
Religion Islam

Tassaduq Hussain Jillani (Urdu:تصدق حسین جیلانی; born 6 July 1949) is a Pakistani jurist who served as the 21st Chief Justice of Pakistan from 12 December 2013 to 5 July 2014. He was nominated Chief Justice by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, after serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court from 2004, and as acting Chief Election Commissioner in 2013.[1] Prior to elevation, he served as Justice of the Lahore High Court from 1994 onwards.

Considered a progressive judge,[2][3] Jillani was a strong proponent of civil liberties and fundamental rights,[4][5] authoring landmark decisions on women's rights and the right to education. He also authored the suo moto decision on the protection of minorities and freedom of religion after the Peshawar church attack in 2013, widely held as the broadest interpretation of religious freedom laws in Pakistan's history.[6][7][8]

Following the activism of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Jillani's tenure was marked by judicial restraint, supporting the separation of powers and expediting the disposal of cases. He was described as having a liberal judicial philosophy,[9] fused with Islamic readings of constitutional jurisprudence.[10]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Legal career 2
  • Judicial career 3
    • Emergency rule suspension and reinstatement 3.1
  • Acting Chief Election Commissioner 4
  • Chief Justice of Pakistan 5
    • World Justice Project 5.1
  • Judicial philosophy 6
    • Library and literary enthusiasm 6.1
    • Selected bibliography and publications 6.2
    • Honors and awards 6.3
  • References 7

Early life and education

Tassaduq Hussain Jillani was born in Multan, Punjab, on 6 July 1949.[11] His father's name was Muhammad Ramzan Shah Jillani.[10] He is married to Khalida Jillani, and they have three sons and a daughter.[11] Jillani is the uncle of the current Pakistan ambassador to the United States Jalil Jilani, and a distant relation to former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.[12]

After graduating from high school, Jillani attended Government Emerson College Multan and Forman Christian College University, where he attained BA and MS in political science.[13] He then gained a Bachelors of Law from the Punjab University.[13] On a Higher Education Commission scholarship, Jillani later completed a course in constitutional Law from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies of the London University.[10]

He was honoured with a "Doctorate in Humane letters" from Southern Virginia University in a special convocation on 12 October 2007.[10]

Legal career

After completing his studies, Jillani started his law practice in 1974, in the district courts of Multan. After enrolling as an advocate at the Lahore High Court,[10] he was elected General Secretary of the Lahore High Court Bar Association in 1976, and became a member of the Punjab Bar Council in 1978.[10]

He was appointed Assistant Advocate-General of Punjab in July 1979.,[10] and enrolled as an advocate of the Supreme Court in 1983.[10] In 1988, he was promoted to Additional Advocate-General of Punjab, before becoming Advocate-General of the province in 1993.[10]

Judicial career

On 7 August 1994, Jillani was elevated as a judge of the Lahore High Court after his nomination was approved by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.[10] He was elevated to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2004 by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.[10][14]

Emergency rule suspension and reinstatement

On 7 November 2007, Jillani was one of the senior justices who refused to take a fresh oath of office, following the imposition of emergency rule by military ruler Pervez Musharraf. The justices regarded the Provisional Constitutional Order law by which to take oath, instituted by Musharraf, as unconstitutional.[15] Jillani was among the senior justices that were forcefully retired and detained directly from the Supreme Court.[15]

This exacerbated the Lawyers' Movement against the Musharraf regime, and led to the reinstatement of the suspended judiciary on 23 March 2009. Prime Minister Gilani announced that President Asif Zardari had issued an executive order that restored the pre-Emergency judiciary, including the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. All deposed justices accepted reappointment.[15]

On 31 July 2009, a full 14-member bench including Jillani held the declaration of emergency and imposition of PCO illegal and invalid.[16] It also held that the removal of all justices from the higher judiciary was not valid, and that the reappointment of justices had no legal effect as their removal in the first place was not valid.[16]

Acting Chief Election Commissioner

On 17 August 2013, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry appointed Jillani to act as Chief Election Commissioner with immediate effect till the appointment of a new Commissioner.[17] He succeeded former Justice Fakhruddin Ebrahim, who resigned from the office on 30 July 2013.[18] His appointment as chief election commissioner was secured through the by-election clauses of the Constitution.[18]

Chief Justice of Pakistan

After appointing the joint chiefs of the military, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the nomination papers of Senior Justice Jillani to be elevated as Chief Justice, upon the constitutional retirement of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry which set due on 12 December 2013.[19] Per Prime Minister Sharif's nomination, President Mamnoon Hussain approved the appointment the same day.[19]

Upon approval of his nomination, Senior Justice Jillani immediately resigned as chief election commissioner and passed the office to fellow Senior Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk.[20] On 12 December 2013, President Mamnoon Hussain, alongside chaired with Prime Minister Sharif, administered the oath to JSenior Justice Jillani as the Chief Justice.[21][22]

Immediately after his oath, he took suo motu actions on court administration for allowing only one and specific news channels (Geo Network) to exclusively cover the full-court reference in honour of outgoing chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.[23] On immediate effect, it was reported that the former chief justice's principal secretary was transferred to human rights cell following the suo motu taken by the incumbent chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani over the media coverage of full court reference.[24]

World Justice Project

Tassaduq Hussain Jillani serves as an Honorary Co-Chair for the World Justice Project. The World Justice Project works to lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the Rule of Law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity.

In July 2008, when Senior Justice Jillani was invited by the American Bar Association to receive and accept the Rule of Law Award on behalf of those judges of Pakistan who demonstrated courage in upholding the Rule of Law in the country, he penned:

In Pakistan, if one were to distinguish a headline from a trend line in assessing change, the recent events are a pointer to a moral renaissance and augur well for the spiritual health of the nation. Never before has so much been sacrificed by so many for the supremacy of law and justice. The assertion of the judicial conscience, the rise of a vibrant Bar, a vigilant civil society, and the emergence of an independent media would ultimately lead to the establishment of a constitutional democracy, stable political institutions, and an expanded enforcement of the Rule of Law. These to me are the trend lines that I would like to pin my hopes on...
Senior Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, 2008, source[25]

Judicial philosophy

At one occasion while hearing the case related to banking redundancies, Jillani's jurisprudence notably read as it was "for the bank management to decide about the usefulness of the employees"— an unusual ruling in a court known for its populist judgments.[11]

Library and literary enthusiasm

In Pakistan, Chief Justice Jillani is widely known to be an avid enthusiast of poetry, antiques and classical films.[26] When a biographical documentary on him was aired on news channels, a retired librarian of the Supreme Court building, Muhammad Aslam, quoted that "Justice Jillani managed the affairs of the library and made sure to add thousands of new judicial and non-judicial books to its shelves.[15]

In literary, he also authored and penned a theme song, Justice for All!, sung by various Pakistan's singers at the 50th Anniversary of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The song has been declared as the Judicial Anthem of Pakistan by former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.[10][15]

Selected bibliography and publications

  • Jillani, Tassaduq H. "Defending the Constitution under the Rule of Law", American Bar Association Press, 2009.
  • Jillani, Tassaduq H. The Rule of Law in an Age of Globalized Interdependence, American Bar Association
  • Jillani, Tassaduq H. "Women in Law" International Bar Association Annual Conference, Dubai, 2011
  • Jillani, Tassaduq H. Towards a dynamic constitutional order, Supreme Court of Pakistan Press (1971), ASIN: B0014N4DQY

Honors and awards


  1. ^ Web Desk (29 November 2013). "Next Chief Justice: Justice Tassaduq Hussain resigns as acting CEC". Express Tribune. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  2. ^ , December 25, 2013Mr Jillani, the new Chief Justice of PakistanThe News:
  3. ^ Web Desk (27 November 2013). "Nawaz approves Justice Tassaduq Jillani as new Chief Justice". Express Tribune. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ SMC 1 of 2014, Supreme Court of Pakistan website
  7. ^ , July 6 2014A judgment on minoritiesThe News On Sunday,
  8. ^ , Government's implementation of judgment, Daily Times, 23 July 2014Destined to fail
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Supreme Court registrar. "HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE TASSADUQ HUSSAIN JILLANI CHIEF JUSTICE OF PAKISTAN". Supreme Court of Pakistan. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c Shah, Shabir (29 November 2013). "A few facts about new CJP Jillani". News International. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "Chief Justice Chaudhry to pass seat to gentle successor".  
  13. ^ a b News Desk (12 December 2013). "Justice Tassaduq to take oath as CJP today". Dunya News. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "The Honorable Tassaduq Hussain Jillani". World Justice Project. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Khan, Azam (28 November 2013). "Tassaduq Jillani to don chief justice's robe". Express Tribune. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  16. ^ a b See further details on judicial Provisional Constitutional Order Case vs. the Judicature system of Pakistan
  17. ^ Khan, Iftikhar A. (17 August 2013). "Justice Tassaduq nominated as acting CEC". Dawn. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "By-elections: SC Judge Tassaduq Hussain named acting CEC". Express Tribune. 18 August 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Ahmad, Farooq (27 November 2013). "Justice Tassaduq Jilani appointed as new CJ of Pakistan". The News. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  20. ^ "Justice Tassaduq Jilani resigns as acting CEC". The Nation. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  21. ^ "Justice Jillani takes oath as new chief justice". The Express Tribune. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  22. ^ Associate news agencies (12 December 2013). "Freshly sworn in CJP takes first suo motu". Dawn news. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ News Desk (13 December 2013). "Full court reference coverage: Principal secretary transferred". Dunya News. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  25. ^ Honorable Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani. "The Rule of Law in an Age of Globalized Interdepedence". Work written and authored by Honorabl e M r . Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani. American Bar Association. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  26. ^ "Justice Tassaduq Jillani takes oath as new CJP". ARY News. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
Chief Justice of Pakistan
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