"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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Chief terey jaan nisar beshumar beshumar...
(The admirers of Chief justice are countless)
By Barrister Amjad Malik

I can remember clearly the meeting with the outgoing chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhary at the residence of Lord Chancellor of England and Wales in London some 7 years ago when a humble judge when was introduced to me, said, “Amjad I know you, I issued a contempt notice to IG Punjab for not registering a FIR in case of a murdered girl in Gujrat.” That was my first and last impression of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. His mesmerising humility, memory and passion to do something engulfed me since then. He kindly on a letter from Manchester issued a notice of a deceased girl’s murder in 2006 whose murderers buried her in the absence of elderly parents despite their willingness to join the funeral. In Pakistan, I was one of the thousands of complainants who were sick and tired of the complexity and rigidness of the old colonial system where everything was going down the hill and rights are granted as favours like a charity. Not ideal but Chief Justice put a temporary brakes to the downtrodden infrastructure and old dying system of Pakistan to avoid a total collapse. Media through awareness quickly provided avenues for a patch job. Govt remained absent shamelessly and parliament numb as usual.When he was dismissed on March 9, 2007, then it was payback time. Lawyers across the globe stood up for their chief justice who was ridiculed in a day light. It was a home grown struggle for rule of law where defaming dictator was caught between rock and hard place and stake holders invested all bets on the Chief Justice and the normal looking human being turned into a “messiah” over night.

In May 2007, fiery speakers were claiming of snatching skins of the Generals, saner voices were asking them to keep their alignment right and objectives in sight. I remember writing a piece ‘war of words’ and raised the issue of lawyers objectives, when I said, “ Nexus of our judges with Generals so far in Pakistan had ruined the future of democracy in Pakistan. Nepotism, bribery, lawlessness, unmeritorious appointments at top slots and lack of respect for rule of law in an unjust society made life impossible for lay Pakistanis who are in millions and they have been looking towards a 'messiah' for years which never turned up to their door steps. If these dreams are to be translated in reality then calmly composed visionary orators must move forward keeping their heads high with their road map to the goal intact. Supreme Court Bar Association seminar would have been best served, if the speakers had given road map to such destination which the lawyers are aiming for. Crucial topics such as appointment of judges via non political and unbiased commission, non controversial non political future lawyers who in the end become judges, politics free bar, training of lawyers and judges, and accountability of top judiciary, financial autonomy of Top judiciary, and protection of judges, separation of administration from judiciary coupled with safe guards of judiciary turning into another military style unbridled power were the questions which remained unanswered in that gathering”.

Never mind, the leadership of the lawyers remained coy to the idea of lawyers giving road map, and kept their objective to restoring a top judge and restoring democracy, may be the master plan was confined to that only. So, no spade work for real action took place except a paper or two from Sindh High Court Bar Association and hence no net results. At last, democracy was crippled through National reconciliation Ordinance pardoning the criminals but restored by taking away twice premier of an Islamic state, daughter of the East Mz. Benazir Bhuttoo, the best selling gift for the western world  and later as a result of long March on 16 March 2009 chief Justice was restored without home work in Parliament how to liberate the institution.
I had my reservations on the suo moto weaponry hence I wrote  'Extreme situations require extreme decisions in the interest of Pakistan' commenting on the 3rd November emergency in 2007  and posed the idea which I later repeated to the Chief justice himself, I wrote , “ Parliament may consider amending the way suo-moto notices are taken and procedural applications of it as to how best to use this constitutional facility. Suo-moto actions must be limited to a report of executive on each action within 90 days and only then a direction is given after a 90 days period is lapsed, and all officers must be allowed to attend court through their lawyers. It is best if suo-moto actions are referred to respective higher courts for action and report within 6 months of the referring of the matter to avoid unnecessary controversy regarding Apex court and in order to keeping appeal rights against those orders
intact to male it procedurally fair to all”.

Pre elections 2008 lawyers were incited to put their demands for real work, but alas, we could not cap the protesting lawyers to academic debates to achieve the true objective’ independent of the judiciary’ rule of law and democracy with governance. Lawyers from marching started hurling shoes on the sitting judges and democracy reverted the groupings back in the lawyers rank and file. Pro govt lawyers did everything to make the lawyers struggle a history and lawyers leaders from heroes to zeroes. Post restoration unlike other precedents, Chief Justice was made to sit on the superior court throne despite some calls of his honourable voluntary retirement and rest is history. He was after all the most powerful chief justice of all time and with the public populous support. He tried to do what ,may not be his remit, ultimately overstepping and crossing the line and parallel executive perception started emerging in the absence of non functioning parliament who could hold the govt accountable on core issues such as selling national corporate and assets (Gold mines & Steel Mill), crony appointments (Tauqeer Sadsiq) and public interest matters such as (Haj, Mehran, Punjab Bank, NLC) and missing persons whose relatives were complaining of arbitrary arrests and detention and handing over foreign criminals to united States.

I had to write, “Judicial Taliban” where I openly criticised the sanctity of a judge similarly as I opposed the deposed CJ’s meeting with the former President Asif Ali Zardari when he went to pay his condolences. It is the conduct which matters. I openly wrote on 3 July 2009 , “ Judicial Taliban” and said, “Judges speak through their judgements is a wise man’s word and I can only present that as a ‘free gift’ to one for whose freedom even I lodged a petition (sc/15/2007) challenging Gen Musharraf’s decision early April 2007. Even I fear for a speech and contempt. These developments are alarming as victorious bow before their God and learn to teach something for which our generations can be proud of. They are never for vengeance but for a purpose & progress for its people. They too do make mistakes and their peers guide them as they did when they visited for condolences to then ‘President in waiting’ who was under trial. There are a lot of issues worth the attention of Superior judiciary instead, for example digging out the case of Z A Bhuttoo whose death is still a mystery, shall we say a ‘judicial murder’ or to some a ‘blunder ’ which needs resolving to start with. Then we have a military coup of 12 October 99, or 3rd of November 07 imposition of a shorter one in emergency both of whom were legalised by Superior Court under Zafar Ali Shah & Iqbal Tikka Khan Cases, both needs a quick review. We have Nawaz Sharif’s deportation in violation of Supreme Court judgement on 10 Sept 2007 which remains unresolved”. And finally a warning, “New judicial police operative from 1 June will set the tone of the judiciary in coming days but executive needs to match their words with actions too. Free and independent judiciary does not come with slogans, tireless work is required where difference of saying and doings will have to be eliminated to achieve greater goal, only then, only then, and this dream will come true. If not successful, then critics will argue as to what is the difference between those fighting with might to impose their version of Islam on majority to those who will impose their will through judgements in public domain other than in courts. People will struggle to differentiate and will declare them ‘judicial Talibaan.’ We must fight together to avoid such collusion course, where public loose trust even after winning”.

I further wrote, “Judicial Coup’ Democracy in Pakistan is under threat, where I observed, “I am afraid, to me, political matters are best dealt with on political chess board. Pakistan which is suffering badly needs a healing touch. People do need justice but justice is best served if judges remain judges. It is unfortunate mystery that in Pakistan people do not wish to do the job they are expert in, so do apply to our government officers judicial or otherwise. Judiciary can assist to separate the chaff from grain but cannot be an alternate force to that of Parliament”.

In 2012 I hosted the Chief Justice but principle stand was maintained that judicial struggle was not for a man but for a rule of law and justice in the country and for taht lawyers of Pakistani origin across the glob will keep lighting this candle no matter what happens, or “let the heaven fall”, so to say for the rule of law drive. In my last letter to Chief Justice on 23 April 2013, I wrote as the President of the Association of Pakistani lawyers (UK) and a member of the Supreme Court Bar that, “ We at APL feel that public interest litigation has opened an avenue of hope, access and voice of many millions who remained voiceless for years of subjugation, slavery and usurpation. This initiative must be given sanctity, permanency and institutional guarantee in the days to come. However, before Chief Justice retires we feel a full court /larger bench must draw guidelines & parameters so that this good initiative do not fall victim of lack of interest, funds, shortage of judges or a mindset which never encouraged the idea of promoting a voice to the masses. As masses raise their voice and pose questions when given an opportunity which to some does not suit. These parameters and guidelines will secure the legacy of Honourable Lord Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhary, Chief Justice of Pakistan in the time to come but also will address the grievances I heard by some senior members of judiciary to bring them on board at a High court level and retaining an appeal right if action is devolved at Higher court and or district courts levels. If devolution takes that form it will give executive a chance to respond, rebut and facilitate action on directions. Executive if given some 90 days to prepare and furnish response on these matters can pave way for an understanding and can strengthen this process of Human Rights cell which gave us a voice. As well wishers of the rule of law, we would never like that avenue be blocked by any traveller”.

I see many voices of dissent, disagreement and critique, and some may sound a witch hunt when a man is leaving after completing his lawful term. Let me tell you straight and simple, Chief Justice may be good , bad and ugly, but we too are the same as he is but a reflection of our society. Our society, good for nothing, does not move an inch bear injustice but claim full share when distribution starts. So let’s be honest and truthful to ourselves, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhary was but a first drop in the silent and still waters of Pakistan which is used to the ‘status Quo’ , ‘barter system’ and ‘systematic delay and denial of justice and freedom’ of citizens. Chief justice until last day heard the case of ‘missing persons’ as he knows that that is the litmus test whether pro status quo powers will abide by the writ of constitution and rule of law. If they do, then that will be the obituary of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. If they do not, then Chief Justice like us tried and contributed in his time what he thought was his moral obligation as a law man. The rest of the lost can end the job or those who thinks they can do better. Lets move forward, he is up for grab for historians good or bad as he is a victim of his own deeds now. His opponent is facing the trial of ‘high treason’ in five miles radius of the Supreme Court enjoying the atmosphere of ‘Chak Shehzad’. Chief Justice too will have a time to ponder how best to invest his retirement and for a few years there will surely be an urge to  complete the unfinished business. Advice for him is the same which was for the outgoing General. “sit tight and relax”, let the professional handle it.

So those who are beating about the bush, a word of a brother for them. ‘cut the crap’ and admire the outgoing Chief Justice of Pakistan who said ‘No’ to the dictator when he was at his peak ‘the Almighty’ and showed him the power of rule of law and the ‘the black coat’. Mistakes are the assets and habits of humans, so the Chief may have committed many blunders. Let’s resolve not to repeat it, and or not to allow the successors to commit them. My last words to the outgoing Chief Justice are, ‘salute comrade’ you have done wonders to the people like ‘mannu Bahl’, ‘Mukhtaran Mai’, Zahida Parveen, Sonia Naz, Heirs of Bugti, and families of those killed in Lal Masjid, and many missing persons, and to me ’Amjad Malik’ a law student. You made me feel proud as a lawyer of a Pakistani origin. One day only one day we will see the light, so bravo we bid you farewell honourably, stay safe and blessed, you did what you could and we shout at loud, “chief terey jaan nisar beshumar, beshumar..” (The admirers of Chief justice are numberless)

Written By: Barrister Amjad Malik is a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court of England & Wales and a chair of Association of Pakistani Lawyers (UK) and first Asian President of the Rochdale Law  and recipient of ‘Young Human Rights Lawyer of the Year 2000’ by Liberty, Justice and Law Society gazette. 

10 December 2013

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