On January 1, 1998, Muhammad Rafiq Tarar took the oath as the ninth President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He secured an all-time high number of votes from an electoral college, consisting of a total membership of two Houses of Parliament and four Provincial Legislatures. No one before him had ever received such overwhelming support from the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan.
Muhammad Rafiq Tarar was born on November 2, 1929, in a middle-class family of the village Pirkot in District Gujranwala, near Lahore. After graduating from Islamia College, Gujranwala, in 1949, Mr. Tarar secured his Law Degree from Law College, Lahore, in the year 1951. The same year he was enrolled as a Pleader. In October 1955, he was enrolled as an Advocate in the Lahore High Court. He established a practice in Gujranwala before rising to the position of Chairman, Punjab Labor Court in 1970. Four years later he entered the High Court and was appointed as the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court. Earlier, during his days as Judge of the Lahore High Court, he also served as member of the Pakistan Election Commission. Justice Muhammad Rafiq Tarar was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court in 1991, from which he retired in November 1994 on attaining the age of 65 years.
Following his retirement from the Judiciary in March 1997, Mr. Tarar moved from a legal to a political career. He was elected as member of Senate on P. M. L. (N) ticket. On December 31, 1997, he was elected as the President of Pakistan. His appointment as the President is widely attributed to his close ties with the family of the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
On June 20, 2001, by virtue of a Provisional Constitutional Order, he was replaced by General Pervez Musharraf, who himself became the President.
Immediately after Independence in 1947, Rafiq Tarar performed voluntary duty as a relief worker in camps set up by Muslim Students Federation for refugees, migrating from the riot-torn India to Pakistan. He has a passion for poetry and literature, with a deep insight into classic Persian Literature. He is married and has four children; three sons and a daughter.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003