By Faheem Wali
In what is a positive precedent Justice (retd) Tariq Pervez has been unanimously chosen as Caretaker Chief Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkwa in the run up to the 2013 general elections. The move by the Awami National Party dominated provincial government in consultation with other opposition leader was the first attempt in the post 18th amendment constitution of Pakistan. Previous caretaker Chief Ministers were appointed or agreed outside the democratic system and in some cases openly hostile to the previous elected governments.
This is in stark contrast to the other provinces where counterparts are still busy in wrangling over a simple Constitutional requirement. Both Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti and leader of the opposition Akram Khan Durrani needs to be appreciated for displaying political maturity and acumen.
Justice Tariq was born on 15th February, 1948 at Peshawar, in the house of Muhammad Sarwar Sulemani, a known educationist and reputed poet of his times who authored number of books.
Tariq Pervez, born second amongst his six brothers, has done his Matriculation (SSC) from Government High School no 1, Peshawar city and graduated from Government Degree College in 1968. He was awarded LLB degree by Khyber law college, University of Peshawar in 1971.
After completing his LLB and undergoing the requisite apprenticeship, he was enrolled as an Advocate at District courts Peshawar in 1972. Known for his hard work, he soon caught attention of the criminal litigants, a practice wherein he flourished by leaps and bounds under the watchful eye and Guidance of Barrister Zahoor ul Haq, a lawyer, informally considered to be the best criminal lawyer Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ever had.
Tariq Pervez was not only famous for his legal acumen and grasp over criminal jurisprudence but displayed his leadership qualities by remaining Vice President Peshawar High Court Bar Association(1980) and elected its President in 1996. A year earlier to his elevation as judge of Peshawar High Court during Malik Meraj Khalid's caretaker cabinet in 1997.
Young lawyers used to learn a lot while attending his court from his academic remarks and queries he used to raise during course of hearings. Even in his tiring concentration towards issue involved, he won’t miss any opportunity of throwing a blinder bringing smiles on faces of the audience. Like, once he taunted well known senior Lawyer Latif Afridi while allowing bail application by saying ,''jo shakhs boorha ho,ganja ho,langrha ho woh tu adalat mein behis bhi nahin ker sakta,bhaag ke kahan jayega'' (a person who is old, bald and lame can’t even argue his case, how can he run away from law). Latif himself having enormous sense of humour took the comment about his age with an equal degree of humour. On another occasion, in a contested civil case, after hearing the counsels at some length, he asked the parties to swap Counsels because he could not tell who was arguing for what and adjourned the case.
Apart from his normal judicial work he is an accomplished administrator included, member of administrative committee, head of Bar Council enrolment committee, Chairman judicial service tribunal, in addition to heading circuit benches of Dera Ismail Khan and Abbottabad respectively.
Tariq Pervez’s real time in the spotlight came when after 3rd November 2007 and the emergency was imposed by President General Pervez Musharraf. As Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court true to his reputation he became first ever chief justice of Peshawar High Court to refuse oath under Provisional Constitutional Order and joined movement for restoration of law and the constitution.
At a stroke those designed to impart justice were on roads and rallies to seek justice for themselves. Like most of his peers, he also used to be a speaker in all such functions arranged by lawyers across the country. Grabbing every opportunity, he displayed such oratorical skills that would keep his audiences spell bound.
He was eventually restored on 5th of September 2008 by the elected government he was elevated to the Supreme Court and withdrew from controversy thereafter mostly maintaining a low profile before retiring early this year.
Justice Tariq Pervez is passionately remembered and revered by legal community for his steadfast and clear approach towards dispensation of justice and his unflinching support for democratic principles and rule of law. Now he faces an even bigger challenge with taking on the role of the caretaker Chief Minister he faces the task of maintaining law and order in a province that has been hit by the consequences of large scale militant attacks. While at the same time ensuring free and fair elections are held in a relatively peaceful manner.
-the writer is a practicing advocate from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa