Seldom in history is an independent judiciary called to reflect upon itself. This, however, becomes an inevitable corollary when it attains the status of a saviour for the nation’s aspirations. So could the case with Pakistan’s judiciary, perhaps the only constitutional institution in which the people have maintained a tangible faith. This rejuvenated judiciary, which in a fortnight will be completing its two years since restoration at the hands of a historic and unique civil society call for change, has a task to deliver in reforming the society, purging the nation of the corrupt and punishing the usurpers of power and nation’s wealth.Will it be able to do that? One can only hope that it will rise to the occasion. But given the presumption of delayed justice, it comes as a disappointment that judicial assertiveness has taken a back seat in the last few months, enabling the executive to continue with its time buying tactics in implementing the court’s orders. This is unbecoming of the spirit behind the rise and restoration of the honourable judges who for the first time in history defied and buried the notorious theory of ‘law of Necessity’ with all sincerity.
The wish list of the people, currently sub judice before the honourable Supreme Court, is a telling tale of hope and despair. From cases of accountability to disciplining the state-run institutions, and from punishing the usurpers of power to prosecuting public office holders for their blindfolded corruption, the mandate before the court of law is paramount and challenging. The court’s pronouncements on the impugned National Reconciliation Ordinance, which struck off the so-called immunity from prosecution to the corrupt, and its eagerness to see that the looted wealth siphoned off from the country are recovered, has rekindled a ray of hope. Similarly, thousands of litigants who have reposed their renewed confidence in the judiciary by surfacing against the ‘custodians’ of state and governance, whether it be taking to task the mighty and the powerful or recovering the ‘disappeared’ persons, cannot be just abandoned at the door of the court—nor made to be subservient at the hands of the bureaucracy. Dispensing justice should be a matter of time and not expediency at work behind the shielded curtains of secrecy.
The court of Lord Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and his brother judges at the apex and provincial level, is the birth of new Pakistan. Never in the history of the 180 million nation has the civil society comprising hardly few hundred-thousand stood as a wall of fire against a military dictator, with the one-point agenda of restoring the sacked judiciary. Revitilising the judiciary was not an end in itself but essentially the means to further the desire of seeing Pakistan being governed as per the dictates of law and an uncompromising entity when it comes to upholding national interests. The judiciary in the last two years can be said to have trailed behind the national expectations and confined itself to interpreting the law and calling upon the executive to fall in line. But that is not a total solution to the insurmountable ills that Pakistan faces today.
It is futile to expect the incumbent government to become a public prosecutor against its own interests, and move on to curtail the activities that are going on in the name of nepotism and discretion. The court, it’s high time, should never be seen as a submissive entity or the one that is on the fence, when the two other components of the state, namely the parliament and the executive, are determined to go their own way. This court, which acquired fame by invoking its prerogative of suo motu, as and when required, should now stick to it in letter and spirit. The spirit of judicial supremacy is in need of being enacted and should be seen to be done in all humility — and with haste for in it lies the hope of a nation and that’s a huge responsibility – Khaleejnews