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Muhammad Rafiq Tarar

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Muhammad Rafiq Tarar (/rəˈfk təˈrɑːr/ (About this soundlisten); Urdu: محمد رفیق تارڑ‎; born 2 November 1929)[2] is a Pakistani politician and retired senior justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan who served as the 9th President of Pakistan from 20 January 1998 until resigning the office on 20 June 2001.[3]

Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
محمد رفیق تارڑ
Pride of Performance Award by President of Pakistan (cropped head).jpg
Rafiq Tarar, ca. 1999
9th President of Pakistan
In office
1 January 1998 – 20 June 2001
Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif (1998-99)
Pervez Musharraf (as Chief Executive 1999-2001)
Preceded byWasim Sajjad
Succeeded byPervez Musharraf
Senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan
In office
17 January 1991 – 1 November 1994
Nominated byBenazir Bhutto
Appointed byGhulam Ishaq Khan
Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court
In office
6 March 1989 – 31 October 1991
Appointed byTikka Khan
Preceded byAbdul Shakurul Salam
Succeeded byMian Mahboob Ahmad
Personal details
Born (1929-11-02) 2 November 1929 (age 89)
Ghakhar Mandi,[1] Punjab, British Raj
(now in Punjab, Pakistan)
Political partyPakistan Muslim League (N)
RelationsSaira Afzal Tarar (daughter-in-law)
Alma materPunjab University
CabinetSharif Cabinet

Tarar was forced to step down and resigned from the presidency by then-Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf after issuing the executive decree in 2001.[4] He was ultimately succeeded by Musharraf through a referendum held in 2002.[4]


Early life and educationEdit

Muhammad Rafiq Tarar was born in Pirkot village in Ghakhar Mandi,[1] a rural locality in Gujranwala District of Punjab, of the British India on 2 November 1929 to a Jat family. His family was a practising Deobandi-sect of Islam.[5] After graduating from Islamia College, Gujranwala Tarar enrolled at the Punjab University where he received BA in Islamic Studies in 1949. Tarrar was impressed from Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari and took a part in political sessions of Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, but he was officially taking part in the activism of Muslim League. During his college years, Tarar was an activist of Muslim League and an admirer of Jinnah.[6]

During the independence of Pakistan, Tarar performed voluntary duty as a relief worker in camps set up by Muslim Students Federation for Indian emigrants, migrating from the riot-torn India to Pakistan.[3] Tarar enrolled at the Law College of Punjab University and graduated with the LLB in 1951.[3]

After graduation, he enrolled as a Pleader in Lahore High Court.[3]

Judicial careerEdit

In 1951, he enrolled as a Pleader in Lahore High Court.[3] He also enrolled as an Advocate in the Lahore High Court in October 1955.[3] In 1960s, he established his own law firm in Gujranwala, and passed the Bar exams to be elevated as judge in District Courts and session judge.[3]

In 1971, he became Chairman of the Punjab Labor Court and appointed as a judge at Lahore High Court in October 1974 and later became the Chief Justice of the same court in 1989.[3] Earlier, during his days as Judge of the Lahore High Court, he also served as a member of the Election Commission of Pakistan where he represented Punjab.[3] In 1991, Tara was appointed as Judge of the Supreme Court in January 1991, from which he retired in November 1994 on attaining the age of 65 years.[3]

Following his retirement from the Judiciary in March 1997, Tarar moved from a legal to a political career, joining the PML(N).[3] After securing the party ticket, he was elected as Senator in 1997.[3]

President of PakistanEdit

After Farooq Leghari's resignation in 1997, he was nominated as a candidate for the President of Pakistan.[7] On 31 December 1997, in an indirect election, Tarar was elected by a huge margin,[8] getting 374 of 457 votes of the Electoral College against Aftab Mirani of PPP (a PML(N)'s rival) who got 31 votes, and Muhammad Khan Shirani of JUI(S) who got 22 votes.[3] This was the largest margin in such elections.[3][9]

Upon becoming President, Tarar was an unassuming and merely ceremonial figurehead who kept a low profile, and avoided news media, and he remained a devoted servant and loyalist of the Sharif family.[3] He readily signed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution of Pakistan that limited the powers of the presidency.[10]

The President of Pakistan's powers had thus been slowly removed over the years, culminating in the 1997 Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan which removed virtually all remaining reserve powers, making the office almost entirely symbolic in nature as per the true spirit of the Pakistani constitution.[11]

Tarar did not endorse the 1999 Pakistani coup d'état by the Pakistani military which elevated General Pervez Musharraf, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, since he was an appointee of the Nawaz Sharif-regime.[3] The Pakistani military thus decided not to retain Tarar as the President for his full term of five years, given his partisan attitude.[3] On 21 June 2001, General Musharraf who acted as Chief Executive in capacity, enforced the Legal Framework Order, 2002; Musharraf removed Tarar as he read the paragraph: "Mr. Muhammad Rafiq Tarar has ceased to hold the office of the President with immediate effect."[12][4]


Tarar retired from the national politics and settled in Lahore.[4] He retained a good friendship with Nawaz Sharif and is a close retainer of the Sharif family.[3] His daughter in law, Saira Tarar, was a member of the Third Sharif ministry, served as Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Rafiq Tarar's BirthPlace".
  2. ^ Profile of Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Administrator/Staff worker (1 June 2003). "Muhammad Rafiq Tarar". Story of Pakistan Press. Retrieved 28 January 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d Reddy, B. Muralidhar (21 June 2001). "Rafiq Tarar forced to quit?". The Hindu. The Hindu. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  5. ^ Chitkara (2001, pp. 118–119)
  6. ^ Zakaria (2001, pp. 232–233)
  7. ^ staff worker (1 January 1998). "Tarar sworn in as Pakistani president". BBC Pakistan Bureau. BBC Pakistan Bureau. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  8. ^ . Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Preston (2003, pp. 229–235)
  10. ^ Jones (2003, pp. 31–35)
  11. ^ 12th Parliament of Pakistan (1973). Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (13th Amendment ed.). 12th Parliament of Pakistan.
  12. ^ "Rafiq Tarar forced to quit?". The Hindu. The Hindu. 21 June 2001. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  13. ^ "State Minister List—Saira Afzal tarar". Prime Minister Office Website. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  • Zakaria, Rafiq (2001). The Man who Divided India: An Insight Into Jinnah's Leadership and Its Aftermath. New Delhi, India: Popular Prakashan. p. 282. ISBN 817154892X.
  • Chitkara, M.G. (2001). "§Muhammad Rafiq Tarar" (googlebooks). Indo-Pak Relations: Challenges Before New Millennium (1 ed.). New Delhi, India: APH Publishing. p. 254. ISBN 8176482722. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  • Jones, Owen Bennette (2003). "§The 1999 Coup" (google books). Pakistan: Eye of the Storm. Texas, U.S: Yale University Press. p. 342. ISBN 0300101473. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  • Preston, Ian (2003). "§Pakistan" (googlebooks). A Political Chronology of Central, South and East Asia (1 ed.). London [u.k]: Psychology Press. ISBN 1857431146. Retrieved 28 January 2015.

External linksEdit