- Man with a plan
Following a thunderous reign of a little over two years, Justice Saqib Nisar finally hanged his robes for eternity. The 17th of January marked the last day of his populist and aggressive tenure. With the transition of power on-going in the highest court of law, critics couldn’t help take to social media to express their views. While some remembered the former CJP in words of high regard, a lot many coined the phrase of good riddance on the day of his departure.
The populist approach adopted by Justice Nisar in the final leg of his tenure was contrary to the Justice Nisar known to the legal fraternity. His command and approach towards civil and constitutional law was exceptional and highly regarded. As a learned member of the bar, Mr Waqqas Mir opined a few days ago that Justice Nisar was known to be the champion of judicial restraint at one point in time. And then the dam broke. The final year of his tenure was a lopsided part of his legacy. Some even say he went ahead of Iftikhar Chaudhary.
People would always have differing opinions when it comes to Justice Saqib Nisar. However, what can be said is that his aggressive methodology against the state officials has made the wheel spin. Yes, interference in the working of any institutions cannot be condoned, however the court summons have enabled a lot many departments to do their duties diligently, even if it is out of fear of the court.
Nevertheless, the 17th of January, 2019, was indeed a historical and memorable day. The Supreme Court witnessed a momentous transition when an activist CJ hanged his robes and abdicated the throne for his successor. The successor is known to be one of the most intellectually sound and bold individuals to have ever donned the robes. Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, the now Chief Justice of Pakistan, flexed his muscles by gallantly addressing the full court reference held in honour of the outgoing chief.
Following tradition, the CJP introduced his manifesto and the ideas he centered for the judiciary, during his tenure. Beginning with words full of praise for the outgoing chief, Justice Khosa went onto disclose his mind about his tenure. The bold CJP instead of shying away, embraced the issue of institutional intervention of different state institutions into each other’s domain. Diving headfirst into the biggest issue that our country has ever faced, the CJP admitted the presence of a trust deficit between different institutions. What the CJP pointed out beautifully was the end goal for all the state institutions. Each and every state organ has sufficient reason to stand by whatever it is they do.
Without blinking an eye, the now CJP sent Mumtaz Qadri to the gallows with one of the most valiant and eloquent strokes of the judicial pen ever made
Due to the lag in our criminal justice system and the importance of national security matters, certain missing persons’ issues arise with no other options left per se. The mark of a true ideologist was cemented when the CJ unveiled the idea of an open and mutual cooperation in regards to all state organs. The CJP welcomed all stakeholders who play their role in steering the state, to huddle together and work out lasting solutions to the existing impediments.
Any reservations that a particular institution may have against another can be resolved through dialogue at the highest levels and the constitution of Pakistan as well as democracy will remain unharmed and unscathed. The alleged encroachment of each other’s domain can effectively be rooted out through an open dialogue. Rather than attacking behind the scenes, all state organs should realise that the end goal for all is the betterment of Pakistan.
A joint and collaborative effort would indeed bear fruit provided all stakeholders are willing to participate. The CJP has nevertheless spoken about the unspeakable. He has made the first bold move and let us hope the same sentiments are reciprocated from all other state organs.
The other more pressing issue that falls exclusively within his own domain, was also addressed by the new captain. The delay and backlog of cases within the judicial hierarchy remains the single biggest predicament faced by the justice system of our country. It takes two generations and years of courtroom appearances for a common man to see a case finally culminate into a judgement. The second worrisome part is the lack of intellect and the not so learned members of the sub-ordinate judiciary which after all the years of wait ends up crushing justice for the common man. Decisions based on correct reading of the law and appreciation of the evidence brought forth are seldom and minimal and the common man remains unable to quench his thirst for justice.
Though CJP Khosa has a lot on his plate with little time to chew however, his clear direction and mannerism of perceiving the predicaments faced is positive and ignites hope in the hearts of the legal wizards. Without blinking an eye, the now CJP sent Mumtaz Qadri to the gallows with one of the most valiant and eloquent strokes of the judicial pen ever made. With the same calmness, the Hon’ble Judge released Aasia and also pointed out the actual commission of blasphemy in his note appended with the detailed judgement.
The captain seems to have a plan under his belt and all we can hope is he is able to implement some or part of it, if not all. The curtailing of the infamous suo motu is another welcoming step that the CJP intends to take during his time. The weapon of last resort, as it originally was supposed to be, might see itself back in its meant position.
In his own words, by the stroke of midnight on the 17th, a great jurist left hung his robes and vacated the bench. What he fell short of pointing out is, by the same stroke, one of the bravest and most intellectually sound jurists took the wheel of the judicial ship. There will most certainly be turbulent waters, but rest assured the new captain will not let the judiciary become another titanic.