Judiciary on steroids | Pakistan Today

Judiciary on steroids

  • Bar Council rightly concerned

Finally a formidable grouping within the judicial fraternity – Pakistan Bar Council in this case – has taken notice of the chief justice’s free-wheeling type of suo motto crusade. So far, no matter how well intentioned CJ Nisar’s campaign has been, it has been big on media appearances but not quite the same in terms of results that stick. And now, with the episode about dams – especially volunteer money, etc – it seems the bar council, at least, has had enough and would like to have its collective opinion made public in a formal setting, addressing the CJ as well as the wider constituency.

Unfortunately, while the CJ has been out and about trying to put the whole country in order, he has paid only superficial attention to his own backyard. Granted, there is not much in our Islamic Republic that is not cause for concern – especially if one looks at government hospitals, schools, service delivery and, yes, water scarcity – but it’s not as if the judiciary, too, is not one of the most incompetent and corrupt institutions of the country. The mountain of backlog goes back a good three decades, which means that the common man simply does not have access to justice. And this has not changed, even marginally, under a CJ who has had something to say about almost everything, including phone cards, official salaries, security, hospitals, etc. Perhaps the CJ should first use his energy, and the time he has remaining, to look inwards rather than try and do the executive’s job.

This particular wave of judicial activism, not to mention NAB’s hyperactivity, has also raised questions about the institution’s neutrality, especially so close to the election. Now the PBC has also raised similar concerns, it seems, even about the Panama case. “I am sure that the judgment might have been different if the apex court did not supervise the trial proceedings,” said the PBC chairman. CJ Nisar should make his office, and especially his person, less controversial and lend an ear to mounting public concern about his actions.