CJ’s unequivocal response to critics

PROVING true to his reputation of not mincing any words and calling a spade a spade, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar in the context of present situation delivered a very significant speech at a seminar held under the auspices of Pakistan Bar Council in Lahore on Saturday. He rejected criticism on judicial verdicts by political leaders yet in a well articulated manner not only admitted problems in the justice system but also hit out at those criticising the judiciary for issuing judgments that they deemed unfavourable, saying that they should stop doubting integrity of the judiciary. The CJ very emphatically made it clear that the judiciary is not part of any ‘grand plan’ and that it has vowed to protect and uphold Constitution.
There is no denying the fact that anarchy rocks any society where there is no respect for rule of law and institutions such as judiciary are demeaned and disgraced. In fact the CJ was forced to give such a clarification on the integrity and independence of judiciary after political leaders, particularly PML (N) leadership, as well as a section of media and analysts had started scandalising the courts and judges in the wake of few important judgments the apex court delivered in last few months and recently. Though a political party in any given case could comment or express reservation on the judgments but it should be well within limits that do not undermine the very institution of judiciary. Though our past judicial history is replete with judgements that played havoc with our political culture yet over the last few years the apex court has demonstrated its independence by giving judgments even against some very important personalities, thus restoring masses confidence on the institution. And now loud and lucid remarks of the CJ should put all rhetoric and conspiracy theories to rest. In fact gone are the days when the judiciary used to endorse the dictatorial regimes under the doctrine of necessity. It, is, however regrettable that our political parties and their leaders who never get tired of speaking about supremacy of constitution and rule of law always take the reverse course when any decision comes against them. In fact there will be hardly any party or a leader who would not have ridiculed or made contemptuous speeches against the judiciary or the ECP. On judgments, they can have their reservations but there are also legal means to get relief. And if those means do not prove fruitful, the political leaders being the trendsetter and role models should accept the verdicts open heartedly as discrediting authority of the institution from the pulpit does nothing good but erodes trust of the general public on the courts. Time has come that all civilian and military institutions demonstrate maturity, mould the deep-seated attitudes, behaviour and mindset and accord respect to the higher judiciary. Adam Smith in his book ‘The Wealth of Nations’ has very rightly expressed that “commerce and industry can seldom flourish long in any state which does not enjoy a regular administration of justice, in which people do not feel themselves secure in the possession of their property, in which the faith of contract is not supported by law.” Indeed developed societies are an outcome of the strong rule of law. We can also achieve it provided all our Sate Institutions show strong commitment towards establishing rule of law and dispensation of speedy justice. This will serve as the foundation of equitable state relations and the basis upon which just and fair societies are developed. In fact all segments, institutions of the state and society need to be on the same page to ensure as well as respect this essential dictum for upholding order, stability, tranquillity and good governance. It is dire need of the hour that reforms for rule of law are swiftly implemented to achieve harmony among all the stakeholders. Just as the sitting CJ has taken very significant suo motu notices since taking the office including those relating to violence against domestic child labour, we expect that he will also sit with the bench and the bar and make efforts for developing a mechanism that removes lacunas in the justice system and realise the long cherished dream of dispensation of speedy and inexpensive justice to the masses.

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