The Election Commission of Pakistan that was tasked to decide the caretaker Chief Minister for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after the six member parliamentary committee failed to develop consensus over the issue on Tuesday eventually named a senior judge and former Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Dost Mohammad Khan to head the caretaker setup of the KP province.
It may be recalled that after the parliamentary committee’s failure in reaching consensus to name person for the post of the caretaker chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the matter was referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with the recommendation of four names that included two bureaucrats, a retired judge and a business man.
The Chief Minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government Pervez Khattak and opposition leader in the KP assembly Maulana Lutfur Rehman (who is the brother of JUI Supremo Maulana Fazlur Rehman) had earlier evolved consensus on May 26 to install Manzoor Afridi, a tribal business tycoon and a non-political figure, as the caretaker chief minister of the province on May 26. However, following sharp criticism from some opposition parties with major being the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) Nawaz the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) led provincial government had to withdraw the name of Manzoor Afridi for the slot of caretaker Chief Minister of the Province.
The matter was then referred to parliamentary committee that met on June 2 at KP House Islamabad but failed to develop consensus amid criticism from the other opposition parties including PPP, ANP and PML N who said they remained unrepresented in the consultation process.
The Parliamentary committee, as a last resort than referred the matter to Election Commission of Pakistan by recommending four names with senior bureaucrat and former Chief Secretary of the then NWFP Ijaz Ahmed Qureshi and another bureaucrat Himayatullah Khan from the government side and Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Manzoor Afridi from the JUI Fazal.
Justice Dost Mohammad Khan who has been named caretaker chief minister of KP, is considered as a steadfast jurist having to his credit refusal to take oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) on November 3, 2007 when former dictator Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency in the country. He served as a judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan from February 2014 to March 19, 2018.
Known for quick disposal of cases and stance for across the board accountability, Justice Dost Mohammad as Chief Justice Peshawar High Court issued key directions for the recovery of missing persons and hundreds of people were recovered due to his efforts. He introduced many administrative and judicial reforms in the Peshawar High Court including establishment of Human Rights Cell, mobile courts and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system.
He was a member of the Supreme Court’s special bench which disposed of about 5000 criminal petitions and acquitted many death row inmates. He was widely appreciated among legal fraternity for his landmark verdicts and providing speedy justice to inmates languishing in jails for years.
He remained Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court from 17 November 2011 to 31 January 2014.
Born on 20th March 1953 in Bannu District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he received his early education from Government High School No. 1, Bannu. He graduated from the Government Post Graduate College, Bannu in 1974 and obtained law’s degree from Government Sindh Muslim Law College, Karachi in 1976.
Dost Muhammad Khan began his career as a lawyer in 1976 and served in lower and high courts as well as the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He remained President of District Bar Association, Bannu from1986-87.and President of Peshawar High Court Bar Association D.I. Khan Bench from 1999-2000.
He was appointed as additional judge on 10 September 2002. He was elevated as permanent Judge of the Peshawar High Court on 10 September 2003 and took oath as Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court on 17 November 2011, where he served for two years and two months, before being elevated to the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 31 January 2014.
Justice Dost Mohammad is also known for his bold decisions and a few observations he gave during his stay in Peshawar High Court that irked vested interests.