ISSN 2330-717X

Judiciary And Democracy In Pakistan – OpEd

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A quote from the preamble of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution says that the court would be free. Use the Basic Principles on Judicial Independence to get a better idea of what a “independent judiciary” is. They were later agreed to by the United Nations General Assembly (the “UNGA”). The court is said to be “independent” if it acts without fear or favor and does not listen to people who have power. A judge is chosen fairly and transparently, and he or she does his job in a way that is in line with the principles of justice.

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Judicial review and democracy have symbolic relationship where the democracy is a political system where the government is chosen by the election process while judiciary establish the rule of law. In Pakistan, according to the constitution the organs or pillars includes Executive, Legislature and Judiciary having defined functions. Pakistan higher courts are custodian of the constitution which protects the fundamental right and establish rule of law. 

In the recent political crisis, the joint opposition parties moved the motion of no-confidence against the incumbent Prime Minister; however, the deputy speaker dismissed the no-trust vote and later the ruling party dissolves the assemblies which created the political vacuum. The higher court of Pakistan took the suo-moto action and created five-member bench to stabilize the political environment. 

The constitutional vacuum created by the weak political system has always been filled by the judiciary through professional maturity and consensus by establishing the rule of law. In the past, there were many occasions when the political crisis raised uncertain circumstances which ultimately were resolved by the judiciary. Unfortunately, in the recent developments of political events, a political crisis has been developed due to lack of consensus among the political parties. 

The Higher courts in Pakistan or judiciary are impartial and independent. However, some elements have been maligned them for being biased, which is not factual. In fact, the political parties politicize the decisions from higher courts whenever the decision is not in their favor. So, in short it is not the judiciary rather the weak political system which creates instability and chaos. 

The judiciary cannot avoid to be the part of these political issues because it involves the constitution and rule of law; and judiciary is the custodian of the constitution. In the current political crisis both the ruling and opposition parties ultimately created a scenario where judiciary had to play its role for the supremacy of rule of law and protection of the constitution. 

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The country’s judicial history shows that judges make decisions without fear or favor, upholding the constitution’s supremacy, the rule of law, and parliamentary sovereignty. In the same way, the Supreme Court’s bench steered the ship back on course and averted a constitutional disaster.  

The judiciary needs to be strengthened and expanded so that people can be more involved in their own communities. Pakistan has had a stable justice system since it became a country. In order for a democracy to serve its people and grow stronger, it must make sure that the rule of law is upheld and that the judiciary is independent. It is just as important to pay attention to this organ as it is to pay attention to other things.

Two things are having a big impact on Pakistan’s system and society right now. A rise in court-related expectations, and a rise in media reliance, are the first two things that have changed. There are no barriers to keep information from getting out, which is bad for both the state and society. This reality is causing a lot of people to be worried and confused. Many parts of the state’s defense must be kept secret. Such institutional problems, which are very important for the state’s protection and stability, should not be brought up in public. Amendments to the constitution can only help make the judiciary more powerful, but only if public expectations for the court keep rising. The judiciary cannot become more powerful until all parts of the political process are brought together. The court cannot ignore how important these two things are. 

This organization had to deal with a lot of big and even potentially life-threatening problems. These problems make it less likely to participate in democratic processes. At the same time, it is important to note that when the court found the conditions to be acceptable, it helped and helped to protect democratic norms. Without judicial independence, no court can make a big difference in democracy. Democracy cannot work without a strong court.

*The author holds an M.Phil from National Defence University and freelance writer and can be reached at [email protected]

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