NationalVolume 13 Issue # 15

Judicial resurrection

In the midst of the Second World War, when the fate of Britain looked bleak, Churchill was taking a nap and was awakened by an orderly on some official matter, he awoke and growled at the messenger, “Tell me are the courts functioning?” “Yes”, replied the messenger. “Then England is safe”, he said, and went back to sleep. After carefully rereading this exchange, I studied the situation that the country is placed in, thanks to Nawaz Sharif.

The Army has allowed itself to be whittled down to a shadow of its real presence. And Nawaz has ensured that the Army will not be a major player on the domestic stage any time soon. This will also ensure that the borders of Pakistan will receive the undivided attention of the Armed forces.

This raises the importance of the courts of Pakistan. The Supreme Court has already shown its resolve and the ability to use its knowledge of the law and the power at its command to bring support to the pillars of the state, to function according to their requirement. Their recent performance on various matters by taking suo motu notice on important issues including the disqualification of a sitting, elected prime minister, a move that caught everyone including Nawaz Sharif himself by surprise from which he still has not recovered, so used to had the power groups become to being dictated to by the politicians, and the generals

The Supreme Court has started asserting itself, and suo motu notices issued, where required. This has rekindled the hope that the people of Pakistan had lost thanks to the judiciary. The people of Pakistan feel that they may yet receive the long awaited justice.

The governments have been misled by a succession of politicians with their unfulfilled empty promises while they enriched themselves at the cost of the poor. The huge amounts of monies that were drawn as development funds, to be spent on the people were diverted to apartment buildings in Dubai and, in the posh London areas like Park Lane, while Pakistani children drank contaminated water in the areas of Lahore.

The performance of the Supreme Court has brought Pakistan in line with other courts in the world which are asserting their judicial power, and are removing presidents, prime ministers, dictators, from Africa and countries around the world and striking down laws that are unfair or against public interests. The courts in the US have struck down laws, that they felt were against the interests of the people; these were US judges in US courts and in India. Now the Pakistani courts have by accepting a few petitions and issuing suo motu notices declared that they will uphold the law. This has led to the people cheering for the judiciary, as they are convinced that they will now get justice due, that has been denied them for long. The people have been deprived of their future while the politician has succeeded in usurping the present.

The people of Pakistan were fed empty promises, while their leadership cavorted in plush Mayfair apartments, on the monies meant for the development of the public. These monies have been stolen, and have been disbursed without a rupee for hospitals or schools.

When the history of Pakistan is written, the people will realize that all dictators first nobbled the judges, for they were the first defence to resist any wrongdoings thereby hampering any administrative thievery. These blockages caused so much frustration in the administration that Martial Law was declared as a necessity, hence  the term Doctrine of Necessity was coined to give legal cover to a Pakistani Martial law. This Martial Law was accompanied by guns and even tanks, in the beginning, since just the threat of Martial Law made the public obedient beyond belief. Even Nawaz Sharif , a progeny of the military and his entire PML-N are known to quake in their shoes. It is now the turn of the judiciary to implement the law with all the might at its command. With no Army interference. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar has continued the work, applauded by the media, and the judiciary of the world. The importance of the media cannot be ignored for they will ensure that the PML-N will be punished for their corruption by the courts.

In retrospect, Justice Iftikhar Chaudry was the first in Pakistan’s history to lead the charge of judicial activism, while Justice Saquib Nisar will go down in history as having stood up to, and defeated, a civilian dictator. The Pakistani judiciary has, indeed, come of age and succeeded in making a prime minister obey the law.

Many judges in history have lost the power battle; for Pakistan this will be definitive first, and will shape our future.