Judicial intercession and political maturity | By Adv Changezi Sandhu

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Judicial intercession and political maturity

THE credibility of the third pillar of the State – judiciary – is at stake in the midst of recent political leg-pulling for power games.

No doubt, the ruling of the apex court shook the tectonic plates of national politics, especially of Punjab.

That is the reason, directly or indirectly affected-political allies alleged the top judiciary with partiality.

It means that the new and well-cooked narrative to make the third pillar of the State controversial is being injected and prevailed by PDM and other political parties.

The narrative is being projected and, later on, will be cashed during the election campaign for political motives as Imran Khan cashed the narrative of “American intervention and regime change”.

Political victimization of the judiciary, especially in the ongoing political battles will put smudges on the real face of democracy.

Our political leaders are playing a very devastating role by making the judiciary controversial to gain their political interests.

Everyone can observe a newly-devised Pakistani version of democracy in the last two decades, although it has deep historical roots.

In this version of democracy, followers and leaders of one political party counter corruption scandals of other politicians by mentioning corruption scandals of opponents despite condemning their own political leaders’ corrupt practices.

Blind subordination of voters and even within the party leadership has prevailed in our political discourses that is against the spirit of democracy as nobody within the respective party can oppose the decision of Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari or Imran Khan.

If someone dares to swipe at any policy within the party against its leadership, he will have to face the music with dire consequences.

The most dangerous aspect of the Pakistani version of democracy is to rely on state institutions to rule in power corridors.

Currently, the judiciary is the target to legitimize rule on the basis of its decisions. Surprisingly, a political party against which a decision is given rejects the decision by alleging favoritism and “bench fixing”.

However, if the same bench passes judgment in favor of that party in another case, then the decision is termed as historical, progressive, unbiased, on merit, democratic and independent.

Similarly, the leadership of PML (N) celebrated the decision of the same bench of Supreme Court against which PML(N) is against now, when the ruling of Qasim Suri was declared unconstitutional, but PTI alleged the same bench of the Supreme Court with favoritism.

In that case, PML (N) praised judiciary by passing statements about its independence and positive role of judiciary in democratic development.

However, when the same bench comprising Chief Justice Bandial, Justice Munir and Justice Ijazul Ahsan declared the ruling of Deputy Speaker, Punjab Assembly, Dost Muhammad Mazari, unconstitutional that paved the way to form government in Punjab by PTI and PML (Q), the leadership of PML (N) alleged the beach of the apex court with severe concerns and allegations.

Judiciary was tried to pressurize through press conferences, harsh statements of severe consequences before announcing the decision of the case.

Sadly, the same attitude was adopted by the PTI against this bench of the Supreme Court when the court turned down the ruling of Qasim Suri.

Similarly, the Election Commission of Pakistan announced its findings on 8-2-2022 in foreign funding case against PTI.

According to the decision, PTI took prohibited funding. Now again, PTI is lashing at ECP because the decision is against its leadership.

On the other hand, other political parties, especially PDM termed the decision unbiased and in the best interest of Pakistan.

However, ECP is yet to decide about cases of PPP, PML-N and JUI-F regarding sources of funding following the judgment of 2017 of CJ Saqib Nisar.

Hopefully, if the decision would be against these three parties, they would question the impartiality and reputation of ECP as PTI is doing right now.

And PTI will welcome the ECP’s decision of ECP with golden words, if it goes against PPP, PML-N and JUI-F.

Consequently, state institutions become weaker that directly affects democratic development.

Attention of institutions, politicians, judges, representatives and media is diverted from public problems.

It seems that our political parties are not mature enough to accept the realities. They always seek ways to misguide the public on any issue to increase vote bank.

No doubt, difference of opinion is the beauty of democratic society, but following opportunism for power is a slow poisoning not only for democracy but also for political parties.

Consequently, all these factors lead to shaping up a Pakistani version of democracy that deviates the country from real democracy.

Debates carve out the inner beauty of democracy that leads to maturity and development of the system through eventual refinement.

So, there could be healthy debate on the basic spirit of separation of powers between State institutions in our country.

Some concerns of political class could be considered about judicial intercession and activism.

Constructive debate must be given space in national paradoxes on dangerous imbalance of power, institutional interventions, rewriting the outdated parts of the Constitution and much more.

All stockholders should sit together to address such debatable issues but only for national cause despite protection of their rule and corruption. The dire need of the time is political consensus for our national cause.

—The writer is a practising Lawyer & working on Criminal Justice System and Constitutional Cases and Member of American Bar Association, US.

 

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