Judicial wrangling has to stop
If the idea was to bring back millions of dollars allegedly looted and deposited by Zardari in Swiss banks, the direction taken by the Supreme Court over the period has brought it nowhere near the goal. With NRO declared null and void in December 2009, a war of nerves started between the SC and PPP. This was followed by the NRO implementation judgment in April. It was believed by the apex court that an order to the chief executive would be enough to make him write the Swiss letter. This has failed to happen and there is little likelihood that the move would produce the desired result in days to come. A prime minister has been sacked in the process while another one faces the axe. If the purpose was to convey the message to all and sundry that even the most powerful cannot escape the law, few would be persuaded by what has so far happened. President Zardari, the principal target, remains unaffected by the efforts made by the apex court. Meanwhile, the criteria for the choice of cases taken up by the court have been questioned. The shenanigans on the part of the holiest of the holy cows have gone unnoticed. Nobody has cared to find how much money has been pocketed in defence deals or if the case of the ex-generals involved in a multi billion rupee NLC scam is being pursued satisfactorily.
The PPP has decided to move a petition in the Supreme Court seeking review of the order striking down the Contempt of Court Act 2012. This is what any law abiding party should do when it does not agree with a verdict. The new PM should attend the court when called in deference to the highest court in the country. Fearing that the SC might turn down the petition, there are also attempts by some of the PPP leaders to pressurize the court. A number of party leaders who are unhappy over the way the elected PM was sacked have issued statements. There are expressions of dismay over the perceived prejudice on the part of the court which the PPP thinks is softer on its political opponents. An unrealistic demand has been made for legislation to allow the government to remove the judges. The criticism is not fair in all cases. There is therefore a need on the part of the PPP to discourage any attempt to scandalise the judges or the apex court.
The parliament, executive and judiciary are presently enjoying freedom and tasting power that they had never experienced before. All the three have to realize that while it is excellent to have a giant’s strength, it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.