PTI & PML-N: Saviours of justice or a national joke?

Published: May 9, 2012
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A few leading political parties have tried to hoodwink gullible people by posing themselves as ‘saviours of the judiciary.’ PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL/EXPRESS

A few leading political parties have tried to hoodwink gullible people by posing themselves as ‘saviours of the judiciary.’ PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL/EXPRESS PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif addresses a gathering of supporters at an anti-government rally in Taxila. PHOTO: INP A few leading political parties have tried to hoodwink gullible people by posing themselves as ‘saviours of the judiciary.’PHOTO: PTI CENTRAL MEDIA CELL Political parties including PML-N and the budding PTI got the opportunity to turn the occasion into their favour. PHOTO: FILE

There is never a dull moment in the land of the pure. We have a special knack to turn even solemn things into national jokes.

A few leading political parties of the country have tried to hoodwink gullible people by posing to be ‘saviours of the judiciary.’ Unfortunately, they have been doing so with complete impunity and have, so far, remained successful in their designs. The PPP-led coalition government has also been accused of hatching conspiracies against the independence of the judiciary.

This spectacle began on January 19, 2012 when Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani appeared before the Supreme Court in a contempt of court notice. Political parties including PML-N and the budding PTI aptly took this opportunity to turn the occasion to their advantage.

Subsequently, a series of press conferences were arranged by both parties to express solidarity with the judiciary in general and with the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Afraid of being left behind in this race for popularity, the lawyer fraternity also started chanting slogans about the judiciary- some in favour of it, some against it.

On the very first hearing of the prime minister’s case, lawyers chanted vociferous slogans in favour of the chief justice on the premises of the Supreme Court. Pro-PPP lawyers responded with slogans against the chief justice, thus violating the sanctity and dignity of the court.

The prime minister was convicted on April 26, 2012 for contempt of court and awarded a token punishment ‘till the rising of the court’.

Since then, the PML-N and the PTI have been expressing solidarity with the court for bringing an influential personality under the law for the first time in history of Pakistan. They have also been censuring the PPP leadership for not implementing the court orders. However, the worst of the series emerged on Saturday when the PTI held a ‘Mashaal Rally’ in Islamabad and the PML-N its own brand in Taxila to express solidarity with the Supreme Court.

The PTI’s activists marched towards the official residence of the chief justice to pay tribute to him for upholding the rule of law while Nawaz Sharif announced in his public gathering,

This is a war to save the Supreme Court.

Examine this misleading phrase closely.

Does the chief justice really need support of political parties to give fair verdicts and uphold the rule of law? The answer is a vehement no.

The judiciary derives its strength from the constitution and gains public support by awarding judgements on merit.

The PML-N and the PTI are actually politicising the judiciary by organising such rallies rather than rendering any sort of help. The so-called champions of independent judiciary have only resorted to such tactics for electoral gains in the upcoming general election.

Indeed, support of public and political parties was needed back in 2007 and 2008 when General Pervez Musharraf deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry along with other senior judges for refusing to comply with his illegal orders or be subservient to him. The required support was rendered by the public and an independent judiciary came into being starting with the reinstatement of the judges in 2009.

I strongly feel that the Honourable Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry should take notice of the so-called ‘solidarity rallies’ and ban them in order to maintain the dignity and impartiality of the court.

If this action isn’t taken, I fear that the impression created by a political party – that the top judiciary is sympathetic towards those that rally in its favour – will intensify further with the passage of time.

My Lord, please ban these spectacles, not just to protect the neutrality of the court, but also to quell the nefarious designs of its detractors to save the same from happening in the future.

Read more by Aamir here or follow Aamir on Twitter @AamirSaeed_

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aamir.saeed

Aamir Saeed

A freelance journalist based in Islamabad who is doing M.Phil in peace and conflict studies from National Defence University.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.