Pakistan: Judiciary Must Not Become Party In Political Chaos – OpEd

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The judicial crisis in Pakistan refers to a series of events that have occurred over the years, resulting in tensions between the government and the judiciary. In 2007, former President Pervez Musharraf suspended the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, on charges of misconduct and misuse of authority. This move sparked widespread protests and led to a standoff between the government and the judiciary.

Since then, there have been several other instances of conflict between government and judiciary. In 2018, the Supreme Court disqualified then PM Nawaz Sharif from holding public office and sentenced him to ten years in prison on corruption charges. This move was widely criticized by Sharif’s supporters, who claimed that the judiciary was being used to target political opponents. In 2020, the government passed a controversial law that would have allowed for speedy appointment of judges without proper consultation with judiciary. The move was met with strong opposition from the legal community and civil society, who saw it as an attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary.

Recently, a debate on the judicial activism has taken over entire media and political fraternity. The Supreme Court’s suo moto on elections in Punjab and KPK assemblies has triggered another debate on judicial activism and Chief Justice’s authority across the country. The Chief Justice of Pakistan, like any other judge, is bound to follow the constitution and the law and make decisions based on legal principles and evidence presented before the court. It is the duty of the judiciary to remain impartial and independent in their decision-making, and any actions or decisions that appear to be influenced by political considerations would be a cause for concern. Ultimately, the judiciary plays a critical role in upholding the rule of law and protecting the rights of all citizens, and it is essential that it maintains its independence and impartiality.

However, the impression which is coming out from the apex court is different. It is being said that the Chief Justice of Pakistan has become party in the ongoing political battle across the country. Apparently, the top judge of apex court is siding with opposition party’s stance regarding the provincial assembly’s polls in Punjab and KPK. The questions are also being raised regarding the fixation of benches and exclusion of senior judges from the benches, headed by honorable chief justice himself.   

As the head of the judiciary, the Chief Justice of Pakistan has the responsibility to uphold the rule of law and ensure that justice is dispensed impartially and without bias towards any particular individual or political party. The judiciary’s duty is to interpret the law and apply it in a fair and equitable manner, and it must remain independent from any political influence or pressure.

Any actions or decisions that suggest bias or favoritism towards a particular political party can undermine the integrity of the judiciary and erode public trust in the justice system. Therefore, it is essential that the Chief Justice and the judiciary as a whole remain committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that justice is served fairly and impartially. It is also essential for judiciary to ensure that the allocation of cases and the composition of benches is fair, transparent, and based on merit. This helps to ensure that justice is dispensed impartially and without bias, and that the public has confidence in the judiciary’s ability to fairly and effectively resolve disputes.

The apex court and chief justice both of them must have to shun this impression that the top judge is working as a member of opposition party not chief justice of Pakistan. This is necessary in order to maintain status quo of top court.  The honorable Chief Justice, while maintaining the constitutional rules, must not alienate senior most judges while hearing important cases. Exclusion of senior most judges from the bench, headed by Chief Justice himself, will strengthen the impression that the judiciary is biased and tilted towards particular group, party or individual. 

The recent actions of chief justice of Pakistan regarding suo moto notice to hold provincial elections in Punjab and KPK have clear made the judiciary more controversial. The Chief Justice needs to clear his stance first regarding the verdict in suo moto case either it was a majority or minority decision. The verdict of Chief justice led three-member bench has further complicated the constitutional as well as political crisis across the country. Even, other members of honorable court have written dissenting notes, while clearly rejecting the observations, authored by Chief Justice. 

The Chief Justice, in particular, holds a crucial position in ensuring the independence of the judiciary and upholding the rule of law. He is the head of the judiciary and has the responsibility to ensure that the judiciary functions effectively, efficiently, and impartially. In fulfilling this responsibility, the Chief Justice must not be swayed by political considerations or pressures. The judiciary’s duty is to interpret the law and apply it in a fair and equitable manner, and it must remain independent and impartial in order to maintain public trust and confidence in the justice system. Therefore, the Chief Justice must prioritize the interests of justice and the constitution above any political considerations. He should also avoid passing personal statements against politicians while hearing cases against them. These statements may dent the already distorted image of top court. 

The writer is Islamabad based expert of strategic affairs

One thought on “Pakistan: Judiciary Must Not Become Party In Political Chaos – OpEd

  • April 16, 2023 at 6:39 pm
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    the credit for creating fissures in the Supreme Court by 9:6 judges goes to PDM government bent upon pulverizing SC after successfully subduing the EC and NAB. Making the CJP controversial is enable by fishing out bundles of carrots 🥕 , ruining the constitution while the PTI is being subjected to the state oppression by baton and bullet.

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