Pakistan's new chief justice takes oath

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan's new chief justice was sworn in on Sunday after signalling an end to years of judicial activism which have seen various Supreme Court decisions on political issues.

Nasir-ul-Mulk, 63, the supreme court's most senior judge, took over as chief justice after his predecessor Tassaduq Hussain Jillani retired.

The judiciary became politically active after former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was sacked by the then-military ruler General Pervez Musharraf in 2007, was restored to office in 2009 following a country-wide movement by lawyers.

Chaudhry then took up several cases against the government and disqualified the then-Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on contempt of court charges.

After Chaudhry's retirement in December 2013, his successor Jillani heard cases of public interest and individual complainants as a priority.

Mulk, who took the oath from President Mamnoon Hussain in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his cabinet members, is expected to highlight the supreme court's role as a constitutional body in harmony with other state institutions.

In a speech on Thursday marking his predecessor's departure, Mulk said the judiciary should not allow "personal perceptions of justice" to interfere with decision-making, sticking instead to the law.

For Pakistan to run smoothly, he said, state institutions must work together.

"It is their (judiciary's) constitutional duty to desist from undue interference in the functioning of other pillars of state," he said according to a transcript released by the Supreme Court office.