Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth. File photo
Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, who as head of a special court had awarded death sentence to former leader Pervez Musharraf, has passed away at the age of 59, days after contracting COVID-19.
He was admitted in a Peshawar hospital and was later shifted to a medical facility in Islamabad. Justice Seth had tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct.22 and had been moved to a hospital in Peshawar, PHC protocol officer Zubair Hussain said on Friday.
He was later transported to the Kulsum International Hospital in Islamabad, where he succumbed to the virus, Hussain added. He leaves behind a wife and a daughter.
Justice Seth, who took oath as the PHC's top judge in June 2018, has presided over a number of high-profile cases, with one of his important judgments being the acquittal of 74 convicts of military courts, most of whom were awarded death sentences.
On Dec.17, 2019, the PHC chief justice while heading a special court had handed down the death sentence to Musharraf in the high treason case for imposing emergency in Pakistan on Nov.3, 2007.
The judgment was termed historical by legal circles as it was the first time a former military ruler was sentenced to death for abrogation of the Constitution. He was also attacked a number of times but survived all assassination attempts. He was an activist and a big fan of the former prime minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He was known for not charging a fee for labour cases.
Born to a respectable business family of Dera Ismail Khan on March 16, 1961, Justice Seth had been the Chief Justice of PHC since June 28, 2018.
Justice Seth was known for his bold judgments.
Justice Seth did his LLB from Khyber Law College, Peshawar, in 1985 and subsequently his Masters in Political Science from University of Peshawar in 1986.
After practicing law for several years, he was elevated to the bench on Aug.2, 2011, and appointed chief justice on Jun 28, 2018.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and other judges of the Supreme Court expressed sorrow over Justice Seth’s death and extended their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. They prayed to Almighty Allah to shower His blessings upon the departed soul and give patience to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss with equanimity.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa also expressed grief over the demise of the PHC chief justice.
In a tweet, Imran said: “Saddened to learn of the passing of Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Waqar Ahmed Seth. May his soul rest in peace Ameen. My condolences & prayers go to his family.”
The ISPR tweeted: “General Qamar Javed Bajwa, #COAS expresses grief on passing away of Chief Justice Peshawar High Court, Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth.”
Meanwhile, with the significant spike in the coronavirus cases, National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Lt-Gen Afzal and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf have also contracted COVID-19.
In terms of fatalities, India is the most affected country with nearly three-quarters of total deaths in the region – 67,376 deaths from 3,853,406 cases.
Six months after the coronavirus arrived in Pakistan, the country appears to have dodged the worst of the pandemic, baffling health experts and dampening fears its crowded urban areas and ramshackle hospitals will be overrun.
India added nearly 2 million coronavirus cases in August alone. Pune, Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai are its worst-hit cities, but new hot spots continue to feed surges in cases in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states.
India's health ministry reported 4,187 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll close to 240,000. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that India will see 1 million COVID deaths by August.
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