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Rafiq Tarar


Rafiq Tarar

Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
محمد رفیق تارڑ
President Rafiq Tarar (left), 2000
9th President of Pakistan
In office
1 January 1998 – 20 June 2001
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Pervez Musharraf (Acting)
Preceded by Wasim Sajjad (Acting)
Succeeded by Pervez Musharraf
Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court
In office
6 March 1989 – 31 October 1991
Appointed by Tikka Khan
Preceded by Abdul Shakurul Salam
Succeeded by Mian Mahboob Ahmad
Personal details
Born (1929-11-02) 2 November 1929 (age 84)
Gujranwala, Punjab, British India
(now in Punjab, Pakistan)
Political party Pakistan Muslim League (Before 1985)
Pakistan Muslim League-
Pakistan Muslim League-
Alma mater University of the Punjab
Religion Islam

Muhammad Rafiq Tarar English IPA:rəfɪ̈kʰ ʔɑr(ə)ɹ (Urdu: محمد رفیق تارڑ‎), is a retired associate judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and senior jurist who served as the ninth President of Pakistan[1] from January 1, 1998 until voluntarily resigning from the presidency in the favor of General Pervez Musharraf on June 20, 2001.

A professional legislator and jurist, Tarar was a prominent activist for the Pakistan Movement, performing voluntary duty as a relief worker in camps set up by Liaquat Ali Khan for refugees, migrating from India to Pakistan. Educated and graduated from the Punjab University's law college, Tarar elevated as 28th Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, appointed and nominated by Benazir Bhutto in 1989, and was a senior associate judge at the Supreme Court of Pakistan, subsequently retiring from the judicial authority in March 1997. Following the resignation of Farooq Leghari, Tarar was nominated as the presidential candidate by the prime minister Nawaz Sharif due to his lack of interest in national politics, and wide interests in enhancing the constitutional democracy in the country.

President Tarar was merely a constitutional and ceremonial figure, while the executive powers laid under the control of Prime minister. Tarar is the only president to have come from the judiciary of Pakistan and has also the distinction of having secured an all-time high number of votes from an electoral college, consisting of a total votes of Pakistan Parliament and the four Provincial Legislatures, making him the only president who received overwhelming support from the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan. President Tarar was upset by the military coup d'état to remove the elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif. He voluntarily resigned from the presidency in favor of General Pervez Musharraf on June 20, 2001.


Muhammad Rafiq Tarar was born in Gujranwala, British Punjab Province of the British Indian Empire on 2 November 1929. Tarar comes from the village of Pirkot, within the Gujranwala district. Tarar attended the Atta Muhammad High School and completed his matriculation there. In 1945, Tarar enrolled in Islamia College Gujaranwala where he gained his BA in 1949. The same year, Tarar entered Punjab Law College, where he secured his LLB in 1951. After graduation, he enrolled as a Pleader in Lahore High Court.


He has three sons and a daughter. He also has nine grand children.

Professional career

In 1951, he enrolled as a Pleader. He also enrolled as an Advocate in the Lahore High Court during October 1955. After graduating, he established a practice in Gujranwala before rising to the position of Additional District and Session Judge and later District and Session Judge. In 1971 he became Chairman of the Punjab Labor Court. He was elevated as a judge of Lahore High Court in October 1974 and later became the Chief Justice of the same court in 1989. Earlier, during his days as Judge of the Lahore High Court, he also served as a member of the Election Commission of Pakistan. Justice Muhammad Rafiq Tarar was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court in January 1991, from which he retired in November 1994 on attaining the age of 65 years.

President of Pakistan

He was brought out of retirement by President Nawaz Sharif and afterwards elected as member of the Senate in 1997 on the PML(N) Party ticket. Later that year he was elected as the President of Pakistan on December 31, 1997 with a record number of votes.[2]

During his presidency, Tarar was mostly a figurehead. The Presidency of Pakistan's powers had 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.[3]


Tarar was not removed from office when Pervez Musharraf seized control of the Pakistani government in 1999. While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was deposed, Tarar chose to remain in office until 2001, at which point Musharraf assumed the presidency.


External links

  • Muhammad Rafiq Tarar profile Story of Pakistan
  • Biography of Rafiq Tarrar (Ex-President of Pakistan) YouTube
  • Concern in Pakistan over Presidential nominee BBC article, December 16, 1997
  • Tarar sworn in as Pakistani president BBC article, January 1998
Legal offices
Preceded by
Abdul Shakurul Salam
Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court
Succeeded by
Mian Mahboob Ahmad
Political offices
Preceded by
Wasim Sajjad
President of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Pervez Musharraf
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