Timely words

Monday’s Supreme Court (SC) hearing of the case regarding media reports alleging that the government was considering withdrawing the March 2009 reinstatement of the superior judiciary provided the 17-member bench an opportunity to clarify certain issues. Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday categorically stated that the judiciary has “not waged any war” with the executive. He went on to state that the judiciary was only carrying out its duty as per the constitution and had initially left the matter of implementing its verdict pertaining to the NRO to parliament. He claimed the judiciary only took action when certain matters were challenged by individuals and brought for review to the SC. With the entire country bracing itself for an expected (in some quarters) showdown between two of the highest institutions of the state, this timely declaration by Justice Ramday will serve to ease plenty of real and misconstrued tensions.There has been a popular perception in the country for some time now that the judiciary has been overstepping its boundaries when it comes to the affairs of the executive. Although the country itself is not being run by patriarchs of unquestionable morality, it was becoming controversial for the superior judiciary to initiate frequent interventions on various aspects of the running of the state. The SC’s stepping in to address the sugar crisis was a case in point; it amounted to nothing as such an issue belongs in the chambers of the government’s economic quarters, not chambers of law.

The executive of the country is instated to exercise certain exclusive prerogatives and the judiciary exercises its power whilst observing the ethos of judicial restraint. When the judiciary was reinstated in March 2009, it came back as more independent and potentially more powerful. The superior judiciary that Pakistan sees now is possibly the most powerful it has ever been. With such a heightened role in a country where everyone is watching and where spin doctors lie in wait for opportune moments — the recent media hoopla over the judges denotification being one — comes a lot of responsibility and the need for restraint – Dailytimes