ISLAMABAD: Chief justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has been listed in Time magazine’s annual 100 most influential people in the world issue for 2022.
The list features Apple CEO Tim Cook, American talk show host and TV producer Oprah Winfrey, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Time write-up described Bandial as “polite and understated” and an “antidote” to rising temperatures in the country of 220 million.
“Widely respected for his personal integrity, the Columbia- and Cambridge-educated jurist bears the heavy mantle of not just delivering justice but also being seen to do so,” Bandial’s description read. “How far he succeeds in this task may well determine the trajectory of Pakistan, and its region, for years to come.”
The write-up recalls how in early April this year the Supreme Court of Pakistan, led by Bandial, overturned now former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s move to dissolve Parliament, declaring it “unconstitutional:”
“As other institutions lock horns in a battle for advantage ahead of impending elections, the court looms large as the final arbiter.”
Bandial is the 28th chief justice of Pakistan and assumed office in February 2022.
He has been a justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan since June 2014. Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, he served as a justice of the Lahore High Court from June 1, 2012 to June 16, 2014. Bandial will serve as the chief justice until his retirement on September 16, 2023.
A look into the CJP profile
Born in Lahore on Sept 17, 1958, Justice Bandial received elementary and secondary education from different schools in Kohat, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Lahore. He secured a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University, followed by a Law Tripos degree from Cambridge and qualified as a barrister-at-law from the prestigious Lincoln’s Inn in London.
In 1983, he was enrolled as an advocate of the Lahore High Court (LHC) and a few years later, as an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
In his law practice in Lahore, Justice Bandial dealt mostly with commercial, banking, tax and property matters. Justice Bandial also handled international commercial disputes after 1993, right up until his elevation.
Justice Bandial also appeared in arbitration matters before the Supreme Court and various international arbitral tribunals in London and Paris.
Justice Bandial was elevated as a judge of the LHC on Dec 4, 2004. He was one of the judges who declined to retake their oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) of Nov 2007, when Gen Pervez Musharraf proclaimed a state of emergency on Nov 3, 2007.
However, he was restored as a judge as a result of a lawyers’ movement for the revival of the judiciary.
Justice Bandial then served as chief justice of the LHC for two years until his elevation as judge of the apex court in June 2014.
During his career in the superior judiciary, Justice Bandial has rendered a number of important judgements on issues of public and private law. These include pronouncements on civil and commercial disputes, constitutional rights and public interest matters.
Justice Bandial also taught contract law and torts law at the Punjab University Law College, Lahore until 1987 and remained a member of its graduate studies committee while serving as the LHC judge.