The Supreme Court of Pakistan is the final arbiter of constitutional and legal disputes. It is located in Capital city of Pakistan i.e. Islamabad, It has several branch registries where legal cases heard by its Judges. During last few decades it has performed an important function of check and balance by giving numerous decisions on constitutional matters.
A few years ago Supreme Court under Pervaiz Musharaf took oath on a Legal Framework Order made by the military not on constitution of Pakistan. This un-constitutional oath creates instability in the country for about two years, and finally with the efforts of civil society, lawyers, and media on March 17, 2009 judiciary restored to its original position.
In chapter 2 of the constitution (article 176-191) powers, composition, rules, and responsibilities of the Supreme Court are mentioned, summary of these articles are mentioned here:
Article 176 – Composition of the Court
Article 177 – Appointment and qualifications of the Chief Justice
Article 178 – Oath of office
Article 179 – Retirement
Article 180 – Vacancy, absence, or inability of Chief Justice
Article 181 – Vacancy, absence, or inability of other judges
Article 182 – Ad hoc judges
Article 183 – Location of Court
Article 184 – Jurisdiction in dispute between two or more Governments
Article 185 – Jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals
Article 186 – If requested, advise the President on important matters of law
Article 186A- Authority to transfer venue
Article 187 – Orders and subpoenas
Article 188 – Power to review its own judgments and orders
Article 189 – Supreme Court's decisions binding on all other Pakistani Courts
DE JURE POWER
In some other chapters and sections of the constitution, Supreme Court has been awarded powers to provide checks and balances to the power of the other branches of Government. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has the explicit, by law power to block the exercise of certain Presidential reserve powers. According to the Article 58, the President of Pakistan has powers to dismiss the National Assembly, whereas Supreme Court has power to overturn these presidential orders by declaring such orders to be unconstitutional.
Presently the Supreme Court of Pakistan is headed by Mr. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan. According to constitution, court should consist of one Chief Justice and 16 other judges, but in 2008 financial bill was passed, according to that bill strength of the bench was raised to 29. Right now, the strength of Supreme Court of Pakistan is 17 in total one Chief Justice and 16 other judges as per constitution.
APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES
Article VII, chapter 2 defined the procedure of appointment of judges, judges are appointed by the President on the recommendation/consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. A person should fulfill certain requirement for his selection as Judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan, he should be citizen of Pakistan, have an accumulative experience of fifteen years as an advocate of High Court or have an accumulative experience of at least five years as a judge of a High Court. The President can make appointment of Chief Justice of Supreme Court. For selection Chief Justice needs to be the senior most judge on the bench, otherwise President needs to record written reasons for deviating.