Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) passed away on Thursday at the age of 59, days after contracting the coronavirus and being admitted to an Islamabad private hospital.
On October 22, Chief Justice tested positive for Covid-19 and was eventually admitted to a Peshawar hospital, a high court protocol officer, Zubair Hussain, told Dawn.com.
He was later shifted to the Kulsum International Hospital in Islamabad, where he succumbed to the virus, Hussain added. He leaves behind a wife and a daughter.
His funeral prayers will be offered on November 13 at the old Army Stadium ground in Peshawar at 2:30pm.
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 December 17, 2019, in the high treason case for declaring an emergency in the country on November 3, 2007, the PHC chief justice, while leading a special court, handed down the death penalty to former retired President Gen Pervez Musharraf.
Law circles considered the verdict symbolic, since it was the first time a former military dictator was sentenced to death for the abrogation of the Constitution.
Education and career
Justice Seth, born on March 16, 1961, received his early education in Peshawar, before graduating from Islamia College, Peshawar, with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1981. In 1985, he completed his LLB from Khyber Law College, Peshawar, and graduated the following year with an MA in Political Science from the University of Peshawar.
In 1985, Justice Seth began his legal career as a lawyer for the lower courts before going on to the high courts in 1990. In 2008, he qualified as a Supreme Court lawyer.
As an auxiliary judge, Justice Seth was elevated to the bench in 2011. He served as a banking judge and a corporation judge at the Peshawar High Court throughout his service. Before taking the oath as Chief Justice of the PHC, he was also named as a member of the Subordinate Judicial Service Tribunal, Peshawar.
Condolences pour in
After news of Justice Seth’s death was broadcast on the internet, condolence messages began flowing in minutes.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he was shocked to hear of the PHC Chief Justice’s death. He tweeted, “My condolences & prayers go to his kin.”
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.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 12, 2020
The ISPR tweeted that Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed sorrow over his death and condoned the bereaved kin.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, #COAS expresses grief on passing away of Chief Justice Peshawar High Court, Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth . “May Allah bless his soul & give strength to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss, Ameen”, COAS.
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) November 12, 2020
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaider said he was profoundly saddened by the death of Justice Seth and prayed for the spirit that had departed.
کورونا کے باعث چیف جسٹس پشاور ہائی کورٹ جناب وقار احمد سیٹھ کی وفات کا سن کر بہت افسوس اور دلی دکھ ہوا۔ میری دعا ہے کہ اللہ تعالیٰ مرحوم کو جوار رحمت میں جگہ عطا فرمائے اور لواحقین کو صبرِ جمیل کی توفیق دے میری ہمدردی اور دعائیں مرحوم کے اہلخانہ کے ساتھ ہیں۔ pic.twitter.com/CjHI2v7bio
— Asad Qaiser 🇵🇰 (@AsadQaiserPTI) November 12, 2020
The bereaved family also shared sorrow and extended sympathies to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.
(إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ)
Deeply sadden at the demise of Honorable Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth who lost his battle against Covid 19. Extend sympathies to the bereaved family and pray for the eternal peace of the departed soul.
— Mahmood Khan (@IMMahmoodKhan) November 12, 2020
“You’re going to be alive in history and remembered as a hero,” PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz tweeted.
You will be alive in history & remembered as a hero.
May you rest in eternal peace. Ameen. https://t.co/LwvNiGBEYY
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) November 12, 2020