Federal Shariat Court

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Federal Shariat Court
Emblem of the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan.svg
Emblem of the Federal Shariat Court
Pakistan Federal Shariat Court Flag.svg
Flag of the Federal Shariat Court
Established1980; 42 years ago (1980)
Jurisdiction Pakistan
LocationConstitution Avenue, Islamabad
Authorized byConstitution of Pakistan
Appeals toSupreme Court of Pakistan
Judge term length3 years
Number of positions8
Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court
CurrentlyMuhammad Noor Meskanzai[1]
SinceApril, 2017

The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) is a constitutional court of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which has the power to examine and determine whether the laws of the country comply with Sharia law. The court was established in 1980 during the government of the President General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. It is located in the federal capital, Islamabad.[1][2] It hears appeals under the Hudood Ordinances, a religious legislation in the country introduced in 1979.[3]

The Federal Shariat Court is the only constitutional authority in the country designed to prevent enactment of un-Islamic laws by the parliament of Pakistan. It is predominantly focused on to examine new or existing law of Pakistan. If a law violates the Quran, sunnah or hadith, it prohibits its enactment.[4]

Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai, ex-Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court, is the current Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court, having taken oath on 15 May 2019.[1][5][6]

Court structure and mandate[edit]

It consists of eight Muslim judges appointed by the President of Pakistan on the advice of the Chief Justice of the Court, from amongst the serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court or a High Court or from amongst persons possessing the qualifications of High Court judges. Of the 8 judges, 3 are required to be Ulema who are well versed in Islamic law. The judges hold office for a period of 3 years, which may eventually be extended by the President.

Appeal against its decisions lie to the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court, consisting of 3 Muslim judges of the Supreme Court and 2 Ulema, appointed by the President. If any part of the law is declared to be against Islamic law, the government is required to take necessary steps to amend such law appropriately.

The court also exercises revisional jurisdiction over the criminal courts, deciding Hudood cases. The decisions of the court are binding on the High Courts as well as subordinate judiciary. The court appoints its own staff and frames its own rules of procedure.

Ever since its establishment in 1980, the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan has been the subject of criticism and controversy in the Pakistani society. Created as an islamisation measure by the military regime of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and subsequently protected under the controversial 8th Amendment, its opponents question the very rationale and utility of this institution. It is stated that this court merely duplicates the functions of the existing superior courts and also operates as a check on the sovereignty of Parliament. The composition of the court, particularly the mode of appointment of its judges and the insecurity of their tenure, is taken exception to, and it is alleged, that this court does not fully meet the criterion prescribed for the independence of the judiciary. That is to say, it is not immune to pressures and influences from the Executive branch of the government.

Court's history of cases[edit]

In March 1981, the court ruled in an adultery appeal that stoning people to death was "repugnant to the injunctions of Islam," a decision that upset ruling General Zia ul-Haq, and Islamic revivalists. Zia ul-Haq then replaced several members of the court, and the above-mentioned decision was reversed.[7]

In 1982, the Federal Shariat Court ruled that there is no prohibition in the Qur'an or Hadith about the judgeship of a woman nor any restriction limiting the function of deciding disputes to men only.[8] In 2013 Ashraf Jehan became the first female justice of the Federal Shariat Court.[9]

In 2016, Provincial Assembly of the Punjab passed a legislature, the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act 2016. Soon after its passing, it was challenged in Federal Shariat Court.[10]

In February 2017, the court issued its ruling on test-tube babies and validated its use conditionally. The Nation reported, "The Federal Shariat Court yesterday declared the option of using 'test tube baby' method for conceiving babies for the married couples having some medical complications as lawful."[11][12]

The fact that lawyers make up a permanent majority of judges of the court, outnumbering Islamic ulama, has been credited with the court finding "technical flaws in every stoning and amputation appeal that it has ever heard", preventing the carrying out of sentences amputating limbs and killing by stoning.[7]

Chief Justice and judges[edit]

Sr. No Name Designation Date of appointment
1 Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai Chief Justice 15 May 2019
2 Justice Dr. Syed Muhammad Anwer[13] Aalim Judge 21 May 2020
3 Justice Khadim Hussain M. Shaikh[13] Judge 27 March 2021
4 Vacant
5 Vacant
6 Vacant
7 Vacant
8 Vacant

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "CJP nominates Shariat court top judge". The Express Tribune (newspaper). 13 April 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  2. ^ Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan on Encyclopedia Britannica, Retrieved 15 November 2018
  3. ^ "Three names approved for Federal Shariat Court judges". The Express Tribune. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  4. ^ "First FSC woman judge sworn in". The Nation. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  5. ^ admin (24 July 2019). "HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE MUHAMMAD NOOR MESKANZAI TAKES OATH AS CHIEF JUSTICE OF FEDERAL SHARIAT COURT". Supreme Court of Pakistan. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  6. ^ "Justice Muhammad Noor takes oath as Chief Justice of Federal Shariat Court". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  7. ^ a b Kadri, Sadakat (2012). Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari'a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia . Macmillan. p. 229. ISBN 9780099523277.
  8. ^ Ansar Burney v. Federation of Pakistan Archived 1 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine, PLD 1983 FSC 73–93; reaffirmed in Mian Hammad Murtaza v. Federation of Pakistan, PLD 2011 FSC 117
  9. ^ "Pakistan Shariat court gets first woman judge". hindustantimes.com website. 31 December 2013. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  10. ^ Iqbal, Nasir (4 March 2016). "Women's protection act challenged in Federal Shariat Court". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Federal Shariat Court validates test-tube babies conditionally". 23 February 2017. Archived from the original on 23 February 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  12. ^ "Federal Shariat Court declares test tube babies legal". The Express Tribune. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Sitting Judges – Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan". Retrieved 28 April 2022.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]