ISLAMABAD – Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial is preparing to step down from his role on September 16, marking the end of his 19-month tenure. This transition in leadership is in accordance with the constitutional retirement age, often referred to as the age of superannuation, which is set at 65 for the Chief Justice.
Justice Bandial assumed the position as the 28th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on February 22, 2022, following the retirement of his predecessor, Gulzar Ahmed, on February 21. His term has seen several significant legal developments and decisions.
To bid farewell to Chief Justice Bandial and celebrate his service, the Supreme Court Bar Association has organized a farewell dinner on September 13. This event aims to honor his contributions to the judiciary.
In line with the established procedure, the senior-most judge following Justice Bandial’s retirement will assume the role of Chief Justice. Justice Qazi Faez Isa has been designated as the next Chief Justice of Pakistan and will be sworn in on September 17, 2023.
It’s important to note that the President of Pakistan plays a procedural role in issuing the notification of the Chief Justice’s appointment, with the selection process primarily driven by seniority among the judges.
Justice Isa’s term as Chief Justice will extend until October 25, 2024. After his tenure, Justice Ijazul Ahsan will take over and serve as Chief Justice until August 4, 2025, continuing the tradition of judicial succession based on seniority.
The following judges in line for the position of Chief Justice after Justice Ahsan include Justice Sajjad Ali Shah (till November 26, 2027), Justice Munib Akhtar (till December 13, 2028), and Justice Yahya Afridi (till January 22, 2030).
The retirement of Justice Yahya Afridi in 2030 will be a landmark moment in Pakistan’s legal history, as it is expected that he will be succeeded by Justice Ayesha Malik. If this occurs, Justice Malik will become the first woman to hold the esteemed position of Chief Justice of Pakistan.
The impending retirement of Chief Justice Bandial not only signifies a change in leadership within the country’s highest court but also opens the door for future developments in Pakistan’s judicial landscape. As the nation anticipates this transition, it is a time to reflect on Chief Justice Bandial’s contributions and look forward to the continued evolution of the Pakistani judiciary under the leadership of Justice Qazi Faez Isa.