A Project of
SAHE-logo-high brown cqe-logo final

Humshehri: Thinking Pakistan's History

Thinking Pakistan's History

Superior Courts

The Supreme Court, High Courts and Federal Shariat Court together form the Superior Courts of the country.

Supreme Court

Superior Court Image 1
Supreme Court of Pakistan
(Express Tribune)

The Supreme Court is the apex court in the country. The ultimate appeal in legal cases is made to this court and hence, it is the final arbiter in legal and constitutional matters. Its decisions are binding on all other courts. Although the permanent seat of the Supreme Court is situated in Islamabad, it has branch registries in each province’s respective capital city namely Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta. The Supreme Court is the seat of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and 16 other judges, appointed by the President of Pakistan in accordance with the procedure provided in Article 175A of the Constitution.

High Court

The term High Court collectively represents the second tier of courts in Pakistan’s judicial system. Its decisions are binding on all courts that are subordinate to it. Apart from the four High Courts in each province, there is a High Court in the Federal capital of Islamabad as well. Each High Court comprises a Chief Justice and other judges, with their numerical strength varying from province to province.

Superior Courts
High Court
Sanctioned Strength

Federal Shariat Court

Superior Court Image 2
Federal Shariat Court emblem
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Federal Shariat Court was established in 1980 to ensure that the laws of the country conformed to Islamic injunctions as laid down in the Quran and the Sunnah. If it determines that a particular law has failed to meet Islamic values, it notifies the government and provides specific reasons for the decision. Also, this court deals with any appeals made in cases, which involve the Hudood penalties. The decisions of the Federal Shariat Court are binding on all the High Courts and subordinate judiciary. The Court comprises 8 Muslim judges (including a Chief Justice) of which 3 are Ulema with at least fifteen years of experience in Islamic Law.

Primary sources

Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973

Find out more

Books & Articles

Supreme Court of Pakistan. Judicial Hierarchy Annual Report. Supreme Court of Pakistan, 2010 -2011.

Hussain, Faqir. The Judicial System of Pakistan. Supreme Court of Pakistan, 2011.

Vardag, Zaman K. “Structure of Courts in Pakistan”. Pakistani Law Firm.