ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar observed that the judges do not write judgments to settle scores. According to legal experts, the statement came in response to the recent remarks made by deposed premier Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz.
The CJP made this observation during his address on the occasion of the New Judicial year opening ceremony organised by the Supreme Court in Islamabad.
The daughter of the ousted PM, in her critical rhetoric against the judiciary, said that the judges’ oaths should now include words denoting that their decisions are ‘merit based and judicious’. Terming her father’s disqualification a joke, she wondered if the judges announced the decision because of some grudge or under pressure.
In its landmark verdict earlier this year, the apex court’s five-judge larger bench had unanimously disqualified Sharif as PM due to his failure to disclose ‘unwithdrawn receivables, constituting assets’ in his nomination papers filed ahead of the 2013 general elections.
“We serve the people of Pakistan and we serve the Constitution of Pakistan to the best of our understanding and ability. We do not write judgments to please, we do not write judgments to settle scores, we render judgments in the fine scales of justice,” Justice Nisar said.
The CJP went on to explain that the Constitution provided system of governance to be run by three organs of the state including executive, legislature and judiciary. “The Constitution is supreme and each state organ has to perform its duties and functions in accordance with the Constitutional scheme. The most vital aspect of a true democracy is the rule of law for which the independence of judiciary is a sine qua non,” he maintained.
Stressing the protection of fundamental rights of the people, Justice Nisar said the independence of judiciary means that the judges must be independent from all kinds of influences from any side, be it executive or by any other person or authority in the echelons of power.
“Under the Constitution, the Judiciary is vested with the power to undertake judicial review whenever any authority or functionary of the state acts ultra vires the Constitution or the law,” he said, adding an official action, which violates Constitution or the law reflects arbitrariness, results in misgovernance, non-governance and consequently in injustice. “The prevalence of injustice results in denial and infringement of rights of the citizens, which in turn leads to chaos and anarchy in the society.”
Earlier, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali urged the superior judiciary to establish a mechanism of institutional dialogue for betterment of the justice delivery system.
“We must establish a mechanism of institutional dialogue to bring about the sort exchange of ideas that can transform our justice delivery system as we know it,” insisted the AGP.
He said, “At the risk of redundancy, I again say that a free exchange of ideas never compromises the independence of separation of state institutions rather it can only develop a greater understanding of themselves and each other.”
The AGP further maintained that the Panamagate case judgment affected the trichotomy of powers in the country. Ali had urged the top court to exercise restraint in giving any observation against either party in the case.
The AGP also highlighted the role of media in such cases. According to him, “As the media’s role continues to expand in our national discourse, it is hoped that it will not transform into a parallel peoples’ court system. A trend, which [is] ought to be checked without compromising constitutional guarantees.”
Prime Minister sent packing: On the occasion, President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Rasheed A Rizvi said, “The bar does not believe that only independence and honest people capable of an impartial inquiry against a sitting government belonged to the armed forces and is firmly committed to the democratic and constitutional idea of civilian supremacy.”
“Coincidentally, today marks the 69th death anniversary of the father of the nation. Let us reaffirm our faith in his values of hard work, integrity and fair play that we have inherited but have often done so little to deserve or fulfil,” concluded the AGP.
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The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
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