INEBRIATED by his victory in the Panama case and the resultant exuberance, the Captain spilled the beans in an interview with a private TV channel revealing that he had filed the reference in the Supreme Court on the call by the former CJ and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa who urged him to bring the case to the apex court. In response to the uproar that it caused, the registrar of the apex court has categorically denied Justice Asif Saeed Khosa of ever having met or called Imran Khan. One of them is surely lying. Is it Imran or Justice Khosa? The matter is very serious and needs to be thoroughly investigated and taken to its logical end. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa is in line to be the next Chief Justice and he is the same judge who called the government a mafia and the Prime Minister as a Godfather of corruption, the remarks which raised many eyebrows in regards to the impartiality of the judges and voices of protest from the ruling party.
The decision given by the SC has not been well received both within and outside the country by the legal and constitutional experts. They have pointed out decisions of the judges of the apex court, even given by Justice Asif Khosa wherein he himself had questioned the applicability of article 62. It has been pointed out that in Ishaq Khan Khkwani case (PLD) 2015 SC 275) while dismissing the appeal seeking disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, Justice Khosa added an additional note reiterating that many provisions of Article 62 were not amenable to legally enforceable standards. Referring to Article 62(1)(f) he opined “ It is proverbial that Devil himself knoweth not the intention of man. So why to have such requirements in the law, nay the constitution, which cannot even be defined, not to talk of proof”. Now under the same clause of article 62 the Prime Minister has been dismissed.They believe that the apex court judges have contradicted their own arguments in this particular case which is absolutely untenable. Many people also look askance at it due to the controversy that surrounded the JIT and echoes of a conspiracy had also been heard. Now what Imran has revealed has certainly reinforced that impression.
In view of the denial issued by the SC, two things have become absolute necessary. One is that if Imran has lied then he has committed contempt of the court by maligning the honourable judge of the apex court and the future CJ. The second thing is that if Imran was telling the truth then it was a matter of grave concern as it proved complicity of the court in the Panama Leaks case. In that case a reference needs to be sent to the Supreme Judicial Council against the judges of the apex court who are found guilty of having contacted Imran and urging him to file the case in the SC.
If we are talking about across-the-board accountability, then judges, generals, politicians and any public office holder must be made to face the music as per articles 62 and 63 and the verdict given by the SC in this regard. The government would be doing a great service to the nation by constituting a judicial commission to probe the matter, reveal the truth to the nation and then take action as per the findings of the judicial inquiry at the appropriate forums. Let there be justice and also seen to be done as well without any discrimination.
After the verdict in the Panama case disqualifying the Prime Minister, the political parties who had filed the petitions and their supporters are rejoicing their victory and giving the impression that with this decision a process of accountability and good governance has begun. Nobody in his right mind would give credence to such false claims and contrived hopes. Accountability can be ensured through reforms in the system of governance triggered by the executive and Parliament and not through judicial decisions like the one in Panama case which had all the trappings of a witch-hunt. In fact the SC decision has opened up a Pandora box and unleashed a process of un-ending litigation among the political forces with all the likely destabilizing effect.
Having said that I personally believe that these articles, inserted in the constitution, with a malicious intent by a military dictator should have been removed through the eighteenth amendment. The politicians made a big mistake to retain them. Now by invoking them they have surrendered the sovereignty of Parliament to the judiciary and tomorrow they would also become victim of this clandestine aberration in the constitution.
Nobody in this country, not even the judges, the generals, politicians and other public office holders qualify as ‘ sadiq and ameen’ as per article 62 and 63. And the reality is that people cannot be turned into ‘ sadiq and ameen’ through selective judicial decisions. The entire society unfortunately is rotten to the core as far as morality is concerned, a reality nobody can deny. Under the circumstances there is no justification for keeping the articles 62 and 63 as part of the constitution and allowing the powerful institutions to victimize the vulnerable classes through their selective use.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.