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The Crisis in Pakistan’s Judiciary

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6 Judges of the Islamabad High Court have written a letter to the Supreme Court Judicial Council of Pakistan, whose head is the Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, complaining of the interference in their work, threats, and snooping on them by Pakistan’s Intelligence Agencies

The lawyers have called a convention to discuss this brazen attack on the independence of the judiciary

For quite some time it has been noticed in Pakistan that Court orders are not obeyed. For instance, the order of the Supreme Court to hold elections for the Punjab Legislative Assembly on 14th May, 2023, was simply thrown into the waste paper basket. 

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-parliament-rejects-sc-order-to-conduct-snap-polls-in-punjab/articleshow/99311033.cms

The latest revelations in the letter of 6 Hon’ble Judges of the Islamabad High Court shows brazen interference by the executive with the judiciary.

This takes us into the question why have a judiciary at all ? 

It is in the nature of things that in every society, in all ages, there were, and will be, some disputes between the people, or between the people and the authorities. Hence there has to be a forum for peaceful resolution of these disputes, on the basis of some established principles, by professional experts who are conversant with these principles, known as Judges, otherwise they will be resolved violently by guns, bombs, swords, or lathis. Hence the purpose of a judiciary is to preserve peace in society.

A person presents his case in court, as does his adversary, and then the judge gives his verdict. Even if a party loses, he has the satisfaction that he was given a hearing, and this pacifies him to some extent.

But this presumes that the Judge was honest, impartial, and independent. In Pakistan, unfortunately, these features are missing. An example of this is the clearly dishonest verdict of the 3 Judge bench of the Pakistan Supreme Court, presided over by the Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, which deprived Imran Khan’s PTI party of its symbol

https://indicanews.com/justice-markandey-katju-four-glaring-flaws-in-pakistan-supreme-court-judgment/

A Pakistani journalist, Sohrab Barkat, of the social media forum siasat.pk, who is based in Islamabad, asked me what I would have done in this situation had I been the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

I told him I would have taken a very tough stand. I would have closed down all courts in Pakistan until the government gives a solemn assurance that it will obey court orders ( subject of course to provisions for review, or appeal to a higher court ), and will respect the independence of the judiciary.

I would have also sent to jail for contempt of court those who defied court orders, however high the person or persons may be

Unfortunately the former CJP Bandial, and the present CJP Qazi Faez Isa, have proved to be spineless in this regard, and the latter has proved to be servile to the Pakistan Establishment, and a disgrace to the judiciary, like a modern Judge Jeffreys.

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