The judge who stood up to Pakistan’s military

By M Ilyas Khan
BBC News, Islamabad

Publishedduration2 hours agoimage copyrightShahnawaz Khanimage captionJustice Seth, seen here in hospital days before he died

Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, who has died after contracting coronavirus, was an outspoken judge of a kind rarely seen in Pakistan and an unlikely source of opposition to the powerful military.

Tributes described him as bold, fearless and independent. He was 59.

As chief justice of Peshawar High Court (PHC), he passed judgments that angered both the military and the government – including a death sentence on exiled former ruler General Pervez Musharraf that made headlines around the world.

He also challenged the establishment on human rights abuses, striking down a law under which the military ran secret internment centres, and acquitting dozens of people convicted under anti-terrorism laws for lack of evidence.

Justice Seth's death is being seen as a major setback in a country where the military has been expanding its influence again in recent years.

Lawyers around the country have been in mourning since his death in an Islamabad hospital on 13 November.

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