"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Amjad_Malik
Full Name: Amjad Malik
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Messiah turned out to be a human after all

By: Amjad Malik


It was over jubilation after new found freedom or the effect of 4 months unlawful detention that Iftikhar Mohammed Choudhary took the office of the chief justice with him to pay condolences at PPP Co chair's residence. It's an ill advice of half lawyer half politician leaders who sometimes are trapped in between party loyalty and the cause of independence of judiciary and forget that judge's reinstatement is not an issue at all; the issue is their complete autonomy and independence. With this speed the way things are developing, we may get the jobs of those judges back but the process may affect the capacity of top judge to dispense justice on equality basis.  Critics will expect Mr. Choudhary to visit now Altaf Hussain over the death of his relative, Imran Khan's father,   Nawaz Sharif at his aunty's death or at least General Musharraf for loss of his relatives of Q in the fatal elections of 18 February 2008. This new found tradition is fatal for the independence of judges and the cause of judiciary, at best condolences could be sent with a message card and a bouquet of flowers. If the judges are made to feel obliged over the bold stance of parliament or political leaders then it will make a mockery of justice and only the employer will change, and judges will remain obedient of one door to an other.  


It is not right for the Chief Justice to visit politicians who are still under trial as it is not customary for judges to have formalities with rulers or politicians especially if they are not their next of kin. Opponents are already raising concerns and calling it an over politicised judicial issue. The sting which is the key of lawyer's movement is the pride of a top judge who said no to a dictator and bore patiently all the tricks and ill wills of his machinery and the nation wishes to see the judiciary above board, who could dispense justice freely without fear, faith and security, and financial autonomy. New born judiciary could also play a role to separate administration from justice completely with a recommendation of a viable judicial appointment commission which appoint clean judges. We also need to promote non political bar so that lawyers who head law movement remain committed to the cause of judiciary and in return become non political judges later in their careers and provide justice at the door step of a common man. It's a dream for which junior lawyers and civil society and media laid their lives and there will be hawks waiting for the weaker moment.


Justice Ramday rightly said that it's not a matter of seeking their jobs back, it's time to make a decision what sort of judiciary 160 million people want, a subservient  to one man judiciary or judges who say no bluntly to the wrongs of the government. Post 20 July Chief Justice refused to meet General Musharraf, Attorney General and aides of presidency and after current release Jamia Hafsa students which was a right step towards right direction and must continue but he must also consider forming a jurist committee consisting of 3 former chief justices who could now counsel until his restoration on his future conduct issues as I fear during this heart felt struggle one step out of line may make his conduct questionable where it will be arguable whether he will ever be able to dispense justice equally in particular with the opposition of Q league, MQM and General Musharraf. In these top judicial slots margin of making mistakes is very little and this mistake must be acknowledged and lawyer leaders must own responsibility and apologise to the nation in particular junior lawyers who felt it greatly.


People of Pakistan did not lay their lives to see a judge visiting the rulers which may seem an exercise to clear reservations or settle terms in order to seek his job back, its vice versa people want the rulers to come at the door step of the top judge who must be acknowledged for his steadfastness, bold stand and bravery and masses  do not want the reinstatement of justice choudhary if it is not with full pride and honour, but they want to see the restoration of the prestige of the office of the chief justice who was detained with family, ill treated, and mal handled by state functionaries and law enforcement segments.  It will be quite in the interest of ruling party to take the lawyers struggle down by slowly defusing the popular slogan of reinstatement and or bending the top man, however with wisdom, consultation and pride these tactics can be defused and jurist committee is a step towards right direction.


I have no doubt that this newly invented custom is not just at all, and is based on ill advice and is reviewable and I must say that one  judge and a judgement can not restore the independence of judiciary as its an ongoing process and we need a constitutional package for which political will is the prerequisite to promote such mind set to respect the rule of law in all aspects of our lives. Our Chief Justice have only two doors to open one of his ancestral home where he will retire and the other opens directly into his chamber in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The whole nation has invested their hearts and minds on the struggle of one man who showed bravery in the worst of times, and by following blindly the political lawyer leaders who are not judges proves a point that our messiah turned out to be a human after all. 


Amjad Malik is a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court (England) and a political analyst based in UK


28  March 2008

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