Stories about Supreme Court

Justice in the time of corona (and after)

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic is a great reason for rethinking the provision of legal services and dispensation of justice in the country and rightfully so. The bar councils of their respective provinces in Pakistan have pushed for measures for the protection of its member lawyers, the judiciary, court staff and litigants who are having to appear in court for matters requiring or pending adjudication. Following suit, the honourable chief justices of their respective high courts, in their administrative capacity, have issued orders for enhanced measures to be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.  Even though the ...

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Should Pakistan release its prisoners during the coronavirus pandemic?

Every person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond any shadow of doubt however, the fate of 48,008 prisoners who are under trial but still languishing in Pakistan’s jails, hangs in the balance. Not only were they already vulnerable because prosecutions, many a times, fail to prove charges, long after a sentence has been served, or worse, the accused has died in jail. But now with the pandemic, they are also more susceptible to the coronavirus outbreak, as many jails are filled to more than capacity. In times of enforced social isolation and distancing, prisons in Pakistan are ...

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Can Pakistan rid itself of the doctrine of necessity?

The doctrine of necessity was shown the light of day by two English jurists named William Blackstone (1773-1868) and Henry de Bracton (1210-1268). The doctrine pertains to the principle of making lawful by necessity that which is otherwise unlawful. Hence, allowing the state to legitimately act in ways that would otherwise be illegal and unconstitutional. While the doctrine remains unimplemented in England, which successfully recognised Blackstone’s celebration of the common law of England as glorifying the past, the government and the judiciary of Pakistan have repeatedly hidden behind this doctrine when abusing the longstanding principle of separation of powers. One would ...

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PTI’s Achilles heel: The foreign funding case

The foreign funding case filed against PTI has had to circumvent several obstacles before it could be fixed for daily hearings. It overcame a number of applications and writ petitions by PTI that attempted to challenge the jurisdiction of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the nature of proceedings in general. Ironically, it was Akbar S Babar, a founding member of the PTI, who had filed the case in the ECP back in 2014. He alleged that PTI had received funding from foreign nationals and overseas companies through numerous undeclared accounts. Allegations of embezzlement and money laundering also formed ...

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Farogh Naseem: The indispensable law minister?

In a move which raised many eyebrows, Farogh Naseem resigned as the federal law minister last week so that he could appear before the Supreme Court in an attempt to ensure that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa received the three year extension which Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) desperately want him to have. After the verdict, which passed the matter onto parliament, Naseem was swiftly reinstated as the law minister by President Arif Alvi, leaving many scratching their heads for several reasons. Was the constitutional crisis that shook the nation not of Naseem’s own making? Why was he allowed to take ...

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The extension fiasco: Who won, who lost?

On Thursday, the nerve-wracking court proceedings regarding the extension of the tenure of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa finally concluded. The comedy of errors unleashed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legal team meant that the government almost shot itself in the foot, insisting on committing blunder after blunder. From the simple clerical mistakes in the drafts presented in court to not being able to convince the court as to why Bajwa’s extension was essential, the antics which ensued have surely left PTI red-faced. The court has provided Bajwa with a temporary lease by giving him a six month extension ...

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Where does PTI stand on the Musharraf treason case?

Former dictator Pervez Musharraf, who abrogated the constitution twice, has been facing treason charges in the courts. However, it seems that having been a military dictator he still enjoys support in several powerful quarters of the country. A few days before the special court listening to his treason case was due to announce its verdict, the Interior Ministry submitted a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to set aside a special court reserved judgment against Musharraf. The petition filed in the IHC maintains that the Federal Government had sacked the previous prosecution team on October 24th and that the Interior Ministry was not given time to ...

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Remembering Asma Jahangir: A democrat in a country that loved dictators

“Pakistan cannot live in isolation. We cannot remain shackled while other women progress.” – Asma Jahangir A year ago, when the news came in that Jahangir had passed away, I felt like I no longer recognised the legal system I had worked so hard to become a part of. To understand why, let me tell you a little bit about who Jahangir was. Jahangir was a woman who was born a democrat in a country that loved dictators. The Convent of Jesus and Mary may have been the first to discover this. The Convent had a system for selecting their head girl ...

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50 shades of politics: In the end, PTI will be a graveyard of resigned politicians

Politics is a particularly nasty creature. Even for social science, it’s an art form very few can master. The rest just try to rock the boat. To make it easier to understand, one can say that everyone is trying to do the right thing, but what the right thing is and how to do it is where all the division happens. At the core of it all, unfortunately, nothing much changes, because the people who put every crook, criminal and elite into power essentially do not change. No matter how moral or ethical we want to see our politicians, we ourselves ...

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Does judicial bias really favour women who cover themselves?

The tendency to judge others is a widely prevalent phenomenon in humans. Unfortunately, judicial bias may have significant consequences for the alleged perpetrator, especially in sexual assault cases. After all, neutrality and impartiality are of utmost importance in such cases in order to ensure a fair trial. The Supreme Court of Pakistan defined bias in Asif Ali Zardari’s case, reported as Pakistan Legal Decisions (PLD) 2001 SC 568, as: “‘Bias’ has been held synonymous with ‘partiality’, and strictly to be distinguished from ‘prejudice’. Under particular circumstances, the word has been described as a condition of mind, and has been held to ...

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