- And landmark judgments
Judicial decisions and judgements have the utmost importance in the eyes of the public, especially in a democratic setup. Having an independent and unbiased judiciary bent upon keeping the state’s machinery in line is a privilege only a few countries around the world afford.
Despite a continuing tirade against the superior judiciary of Pakistan by some quarters, it is safe to state that the judiciary is closest to being independent at this moment compared to any other time. The doctrine of necessity continues to plague the dark pages of our history. Nevertheless in recent years the judiciary has contributed to our legal jurisprudence and certain dictates are indeed bold, independent and highly commendable.
Call it style or a mere co-incidence, the apex court over the past 10 years has rendered landmark judgments on Fridays. From Orange line to Panama and from judge’s disqualification to Tareen’s disqualification, the lordships have marked Friday as the sacred judgment day. This time Friday stole the limelight by tucking two important judgements under its belt. The Imran/Jahangir saga and the Hudaibiya paper mills.
The dismissal of NAB’s appeal in the Hudaibiya paper mills case is in conflict with the judiciary’s own earlier stance. Despite knowing the applicable time bar, the dissenting judgment in the Panama Paper’s case directed NAB to file the appeal only to be dismissed sometime later by another bench of the apex court. Such inconsistency indicates the judiciary’s shifting mindset. On the one hand they seem hell bent upon foraying corrupt people and taking them to task, even if it includes unorthodox measures, and on the other they dismissed the Hudaibiya appeal on settled, strict, norms of justice. The time bar was also observed during proceedings. Had the court earlier forgotten about the time bar when it directed NAB to file the appeal?
Call it style or a mere co-incidence, the apex court over the past 10 years has rendered landmark judgments on Fridays. From Orange line to Panama and from judge’s disqualification to Tareen’s disqualification, the lordships have marked Friday as the sacred judgment day
The decision in Imran Khan’s case, similarly, is of foremost importance not because it defined the course of Khan’s political career but rather because it shifted the paradigm of our politics. Imran Khan though already acclaimed by his camp to be a running candidate for the prime minister’s seat has a lot to accomplish in order to actually secure the PM house. The face painting, chanting and waving of PTI flags by countless diehard fans isn’t going to seat him on the throne. On the contrary the Supreme Court decision might help him do so.
It’s not every other day that a ‘politician’ in Pakistan walks free from the clutches of the country’s highest court, especially when the judicial knuckles are seen to be tightening around the political pundits quite often. Some spectators even went on to state that Imran’s case sets the bar high for others. Such a decision under his belt makes Imran better prepared than a disqualified, disgraced and soon to be maybe convicted Nawaz Sharif. Instead of justifying a decision against himself, Imran Khan will proudly roar around as being cleared as honest by the country’s highest court of law. Jahangir Tareen’s accompanying resignation premised on high moral ground will be further cashed by the party, generally. Sticking to their earlier stance Tareen’s instant resignation will be credited by the Insaafians as a display of valour and sportsmanship and more importantly the words “bow my head in compliance” cement their respect for the state institutions or at least it appears so. Though the party’s immediate stance about the Tareen decision seemed to be a synonym of Mujhe Kyun Nikala. Even Tareen’s own tweet stepped close enough to the petulant battle cry.
Moreover, the robed adjudicators may be inclined towards avoiding political stigmas attached to them and may also frown upon the analysis pouring in, it needs to be understood that all decisions pertaining to a political personality are viewed through a political prism. The honourable gentlemen cannot escape the wrath of these ruthless politicians as they themselves take up their political fate. The politicians are left with no choice but to lambast the judiciary, in order to save their public image.
The Sharifs for instance have given it their best shot to convince the public that the judgements have been scripted elsewhere and the judiciary was being used as a tool against them. Even though his diatribe isn’t worthy of being given importance however it did stroke the self-esteem of the robed gentlemen so much so that the chief justice considered it vital to rebut the same through his speech at a seminar in Lahore.
In his exasperating address, the CJP was visibly irritated with the on-going political trial of the judiciary. Sharif’s words touched him so dearly that he made it a point to publicly refute them despite not holding an interactive public office. As Justice Azmat Saeed once observed, a judge does not comment over the phone but merely pens down his thoughts by virtue of his dictates. The same is the course which should be adopted by other learned members of the bench too. The CJP coming forward and rebutting allegations of pre-scripting judgments and the talk of the judiciary under external influence is reason enough for the critics to gain momentum. In simple words such acts give the likes of Daniyal Aziz and Talal Chaudhary importance and their nonsensical outbursts are considered worthy of a response by the CJP.
The desperate attempts of these political quarters to malign the judiciary shouldn’t be given importance under any circumstances. History will only recall the written dictum laid down by the honourables and not the persistently naïve statements of the N-leaguers. The judiciary should continue serving the interests of the public in light of the constitution and the settled jurisprudence of law and to even save its sanctity should avoid taking up petitions where rather than a question of legal importance, a question of political mileage is concerned.
Notwithstanding the above, the lordships should continue to astonish the people with more of the sacred Fridays.