Wasim Sajjad


Wasim Sajjad was born on March 30, 1941 in Jalandhar. He is the son of late Justice Sajjad Ahmad Jan. Wasim Sajjad has excellent academic credentials; he graduated in 1961 from Punjab University with first class honors in English. He topped and secured gold medals in several other exams at the University including F. E. L., L. L. B. and M. A. in Political Science in 1964. Wasim Sajjad was not only outstanding in his academics but also in sports and debates. He was awarded three gold medals for public speaking during his university days. He also won the Ruchi Ram Sahni and Krishan Kishor Groveur declamation prize from Punjab University. He was placed on the role of honor of the University Law College Lahore in 1963 for his outstanding performance as a debater, sportsman and student. He was also the captain of the tennis team at Law College in 1962.

Wasim Sajjad, on the basis of his outstanding academic record, was selected for the Rhodes Scholarship to study law at the Oxford University. He secured Honors in Jurisprudence in 1966, and a Degree of Bachelor of Civil Law from Oxford University in 1967. He did his M. A. from Oxford University in 1967. He obtained first position in Administrative Law at Oxford and his Barrister of Law from the Inner Temple, London. At London, Wasim Sajjad not only focused on his studies, but was also the President of the Oxford University Islamic Society in 1966, and President of the Oxford University Pakistan Society from 1965 to 1966. He was elected President Oxford University Birkenhead Society 1965-1967, and as Secretary Wadham College, Oxford, in 1966.

Wasim Sajjad has a long and extended career in public service. Wasim Sajjad is the only practicing advocate in Pakistan holding a Bachelors of Civil Law from Oxford University. He served as a lecturer of Constitutional Law at University Law College for a year. He appeared in a large number of cases of constitutional and legal importance before the High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan, in matters relating to constitutional validity of Martial Law. He attended the International Asian Cricket Conference at New Delhi, in September 1983, to draft the Constitution for the Conference. He headed Pakistani delegation to the Inter Parliamentary Union Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria. He was President of Pakistan Tennis Federation and also held the position of Secretary Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for Pakistan. Wasim Sajjad was awarded Diplomatic Civil Award by the President of South Korea. The Wadham College, Oxford, elected him as Honorary Fellow for his contributions in education and politics, in 1992. This Award is an old tradition of Oxford, which symbolizes the institution’s pride in an old member.

Wasim Sajjad was elected member of Senate in 1985 as a professional. He also held the office of Minister for Justice and Parliamentary Affairs from September 1986 to December 1988. He was elected Chairman of Senate on December 24, 1988. Wasim Sajjad was reelected as Senator for three years in 1991. Wasim Sajjad, as the Chairman of Senate, on several occasions served as the acting President of Pakistan during the absence of the President. He served as acting President in 1993 when the National Assembly was dissolved due to confrontation between Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Nawaz Sharif.

He himself contested for President as a P. M. L. candidate in 1993. Some of the leading political figures like former President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, Balakh Sher Mazari and Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari contested the election for President. Later on, however, only two candidates were left in the race; Wasim Sajjad and Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari. The P. P. P. candidate Farooq Ahmad Khan Legahri won by 274 votes against 168 votes polled for Wasim Sajjad. After the resignation of President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari on December 2, 1997, Wasim Sajjad, as the Chairman of the Senate, once again took the charge as acting President.

He visited several countries including U. S. A., Britain, Canada, France, West Germany, China, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand as leader of parliamentary delegation for Pakistan.

Wasim Sajjad as Chairman of the Senate, had a reputation of being tolerant, moderate and a democrat. He did not indulge in violent language against the opposition and on various occasions tried to mediate between various political factions in the Government.

This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003