Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Judicialization of Politics in Pakistan & History.

26th July, 2012  Opposition should have resisted contempt law: SC ISLAMABAD, July 26: Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan sharply reacted on Thursday to remarks made by some Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, about opposition’s role in parliament during the adoption of a bill to amend the contempt of court law and said the observations were “disappointing, unfair, unjust and beyond comprehension”. “The honourable judges venting their feelings against the opposition should enlighten us where exactly the opposition erred in coming up to their expectations,” a statement issued by the PML-N leader from London said. Chaudhry Nisar expressed the hope that the judges would “review” their comments. “Such sweeping and one-sided statements do not strengthen the dignity of the Supreme Court nor do they ensure fairness and justice in an environment where justice is the need of the hour.” He said: “While making these observations, the honourable judges should also have the trouble to elaborate how the opposition with 90 members in a house of 342 could have stopped the passage of the bill short of snatching it from the minister’s hands and creating a violent scene.” He particularly “expressed his amazement” at the reported comments of a judge that the opposition had violated the people’s mandate by staging walkout.“How can such a statement be made about a party which has over the years often single-handedly raised aloft the banner for a free judiciary and rule of law in Pakistan?” REFERENCE: Nisar urges judges to review their remarks 27th July, 2012 Opposition should have resisted contempt law: SC Iftikhar A. Khan | 26th July, 2012

Asma Jahangir on Judicialization of Politics Part 1

SC Registrar oversteps jurisdiction June 22, 2012 In a sheer case of over stepping jurisdiction, Supreme Court of Pakistan Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain has directly approached companies that provided services to Dr Arsalan, seeking their tax returns and verification of receipts. According to well-placed sources told Online, the companies that provided services to Arsalan, allegedly on Malik Riaz’s expense, received multiple emails from the Registrar last night. “The emails from Dr Faqir remained pouring in till 3:30 am,” said a source in one of these companies. These mails were perturbing as “he (the Registrar) was asking about our tax returns and details of postings of income from Arsalan in our accounts,” he added. “From the text of the emails, the Registrar appeared to be either in panic or simply unaware of his attempts replicating ‘coram non judice’. Before righting to us, the apex court’s administrator must know that businesses based or operating in London are protected under the Data Protection Act, especially in matters related to personal finances.”

“Even if a London-based authority or investigator intended to inquire about the details of some personal expenses from a bank or a hotel, it needs to go through a high court judge or Crown Court Judge,” a local attorney told Online. The way in which apex court’s Registrar has moved is tantamount to be contamination of the evidence. The sources said the said companies were not answerable to the Registrar of Supreme Court and they would contact their counsels through their respective governments at the earliest. It may be mentioned here that Malik Riaz, during his press conference, had presented the receipts of the companies/business concerns that provided services to Arsalan Iftikhar, as evidence. These included Hellen Park Hotel London, Habib Bank A.G. Zurich London, Marriot Hotel and the company which rented out Range Rover to Arsalan. The Supreme Court is not authorised to probe against anybody, whereas the inquiry from its Registrar has flared up apprehensions among the legal and constitutional circles of the country. Malik Riaz has submitted record comprising 83 pages in Supreme Court, highlighting that a total of Rs340.25 million were incurred on three tours of CJP’s son to London. Meanwhile, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry Wednesday granted another two-year extension in the service of Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain. “Chief Justice re-employed Dr Faqir Hussain, as registrar (of) Supreme Court for a period of two years with effect from March 25 on usual terms and conditions,” an announcement by the apex court said. Mr. Hussain had told a section of press on Tuesday that March 24 would be his last day in office. Dr Hussain retired from service in March 2010 when he got his first extension for two years. An order passed by the chief justice said: “Dr Hussain, the incumbent registrar of the Supreme Court, is a person of high integrity, moral calibre and qualification. He carries MA and LLB degrees from University of Peshawar, LLM degree from the University of London, PhD in Constitutional Law from the University of Peshawar, and has completed Post Doctoral Fellowship from the University of London. “Dr Hussain’s re-employment due to non-availability of suitably qualified/experienced staff does not infringe upon the promotional prospects and rights of the other officers.” The order said the chief justice discussed the issue with four other judges of the apex court who said he should be given another extension. It said the option of hiring services of an official from any other department on deputation was also considered. “But this option could not be exercised in view of the fact that any new officer will take time to get acquainted with the complex working of the apex court of the country. No right of promotion of any officer of the Supreme Court is being affected because currently there is no officer in BPS-21 in Supreme Court establishment,” the order stated, adding that the extension in period of re-employment of Dr Hussain was in line with the relevant government rules and judgment of apex court in PLD 2011 SC 277. Dr Hussain served as registrar throughout with Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry from July 1, 2005 to March 9, 2007. He left the post on March 9, 2007, when a reference was filed against the CJ. He was again appointed on July 20, 2007, when Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was restored under a judgment of the apex court. With the promulgation of Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) on Nov 3, 2007, and deposition of CJ and other 60 judges, Dr Hussain was reverted to his previous position of law secretary. REFERENCE: SC Registrar oversteps jurisdiction June 22, 2012

Asma Jahangir on Judicialization of Politics Part 2

Justice Louise Arbour has a distinguished career devoted to promoting the principles of justice. Currently serving as the President of the International Crisis Group, Justice Arbour is the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal for Ontario and a former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. As such, she knows a thing or two about the importance of an independent judiciary in developing countries and emerging democracies. That’s why, when Justice Arbour expresses concerns about the looming constitutional crisis in Pakistan, her concerns merit serious consideration. An ardent supporter of Pakistan’s 2007 “Lawyer’s Movement” to restore judges deposed by Gen. Musharraf, Justice Arbour had hoped to see a new era for the Court, one that broke with its past of supporting military dictators and their mangling the Constitution and the rule of law. Today, she fears that those same justices have become “intoxicated with their own independence,” and that the current direction of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Justices threatens to upend the very democratic order that restored them to the bench. Speaking to a crowded auditorium at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, Justice Arbour noted that the current tension between Pakistan’s Supreme Court and its elected officials might seem like a political soap opera were it not for Court’s history of collusion with the military to suppress democracy. Judges “who took an oath to a military dictator are not well placed to make the decision” to remove democratically elected officials, she observed, referring to Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s 1999 oath under Gen. Musharraf’s Provisional Constitutional Order While not inevitable, Justice Arbour said, it is possible that Pakistan’s Supreme Court could end up dissolving the democratically elected government with the help of the military, putting in place an extended caretaker government in what would be, for all intents and purposes, another coup. During her visit to Pakistan, she assured the room, she met with no government officials. Her interest was in the views of the legal community, whom she found deeply divided, seemingly on political lines. This troubled the former Justice, who worries that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has become increasingly politicized, threatening its credibility. She pointed to the memo commission, which she said “reflected very poorly on the judiciary,” and added to the appearance of growing politicization. The present case, in which the Supreme Court has ordered the Prime Minister to write a letter to Swiss authorities requesting that criminal cases be reinstated against the President, adds to the appearance of an increasingly politicized judiciary. From a legal perspective, the issue centers on one of separation of powers. In fact, Pakistan’s Chief Justice has repeatedly stated recently that “parliament is not supreme.” In questions such as these, where the Supreme Court has a vested interest in the outcome, Justice Arbour suggests that it is all the more important that court show self-restraint and frame its decisions in a way that “advances the authority of all institutions,” not only its own. Justice Arbour was also clear that her concerns about the Supreme Court’s actions do not imply a disinterest in accountability. There is a misconception that presidential immunity is unprecedented, she explained, reminding the audience that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy enjoyed immunity from prosecution during his term in office and, now that he is out of office, faces possible charges for campaign finance violations. Article 248 of Pakistan’s Constitution, which grants temporary immunity to Pakistan’s President, Prime Minister, and Governors, is clearly worded, said Justice Arbour; and that privilege exists for a reason – to allow government officials to perform their official duties without distraction. Asked by a member of the audience whether President Zardari should be subject to accountability, Justice Arbour responded that all officials should be subject to accountability. The issue is not one of accountability, but timing. Rather than wait six months for Pakistan’s next general elections, she said, the Supreme Court is unnecessarily undermining not only the present government, but the democratic system, which is weak from decades of neglect under military regimes. Justice Arbour is not the only former Supreme Court justice to express grave concern about the direction of Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Last month, Justice Markandey Katju, a former member of the Supreme Court of India, wrote a detailed explanation for his concern that Pakistan’s Supreme Court is “playing to the galleries and not exercising the self-restraint expected of superior courts.” As a growing chorus of international jurists expresses concerns about the actions of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, we hope that Pakistan’s Honorable Justices will consider Justice Arbour’s words carefully if for no other reason than their own self interest. Historically, Pakistan’s courts suffered greatly under undemocratic regimes. Should Pakistan’s democracy become derailed as a result of the present crisis, there’s no reason to believe the judiciary would fare better this time around. REFERENCE: Justice Louise Arbour Concerned About Direction of Pakistan’s Supreme Court JULY 19, 2012 • BY AMERICANSFORPAKISTAN •

Marvi Sirmed on Judicialization of Politics Part-1

Whigs, Robes and Shirwanis - ‘We have too many high sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them’. Abigail Admas - Civilian and military rulers have been helped by eminent legal minds in judicial and constitutional matters. These legal celebrities change their own ideas depending on the situation. Governor General Ghulam Muhammad after dismissing Nazimuddin’s cabinet appointed A.K. Barohi as his law minister. Barohi was a strong advocate of a secular constitution and agreed with all those who wanted to keep religious leaders out of political arena. However when winds changed, then Barohi’s ideas also changed. Barohi later became legal advisor to General Zia and helped him to Islamize the country. Another bright legal mind is S. M. Zafar who had pleaded many cases of those in power. In 1997, while representing prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a contempt of court hearing, he argued that ‘another reason why the chief justice should drop the charges was that he was from Sindh and in Sindh there was a tradition that if someone comes to the house of a Sindhi, then all complaints against the guest were dropped’. (20) Very few lawyers can boast about presenting such arguments in defense of their clients in a court of law. Shareefuddin Peerzada is an old hand who is nicknamed ‘jadugar’ (magician). He has an unbeatable record of faithfully serving military rulers spanning almost the whole history of Pakistan including Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia ul Haq and Pervez Mussharraf. He has been gifted with the rare ability to pull different varieties of rabbits from his legal hat to fulfill the needs of military rulers.

Under the shadow of judicial activism, many judges crossed the fine line and many at times conveyed their biases prior to evaluating the full body of evidence. Chief justice Nasim Hassan Shah at the start of hearing of dismissal of Nawaz Sharif government stated that he will not be another Munir (referring to chief justice Muhammad Munir’s decision of validating Ayub Khan’s coup in 1958) and that ‘the nation will hear a good news’. During 1997 elections, chief justice Sajjad A. Shah toured Lahore for few hours and made his mind about low turn out of voters. Later that evening talking to Governor of Punjab Khawaja Tariq Rahim he remarked that if there was such a low turn out of elections and ‘if the results of the election were challenged in court on the ground that it lacked participation by the majority of the people, it was possible that the court could reject the result’. He later repeated these remarks to caretaker prime minister Malik Meraj Khalid. (21) At other times justices have actively taken the side of the executive even at the expense of the independence of their own institution or given judgments for petty personal interests. In November 1977, chief justice Anwar ul Haq upheld Zia’s martial law under the doctrine of necessity. One day before the judgment, he called Zia’s legal advisor Shareefuddin Peerzada to inform him about the judgment. Peerzada asked chief justice if he had given the authority of amending the constitution to General Zia. Haq replied that he had not given that authority to General Zia. Peerzada told him that without giving Zia the authority to amend the constitution, chief justice will be out of his job and a new chief justice will need to be sworn in. Hearing that Anwarl ul Haq inserted the words of ‘including the power to amend it (the constitution)’ in the judgment in his own hand writing. (22) He had done this without consulting other justices who were unaware of this last minute back channel communication between chief justice and government’s legal advisor. It is ironic that in 1979, chief justice of Supreme Court Anwar ul Haq and chief justice of Lahore high court Maulvi Mushtaq Hussain held brain storming sessions with General Zia ul Haq at his residence to help the military ruler draft a Constitutional Amendment (Article 212-A) to curtail the activities of their own institution. This amendment removed any oversight by civilian courts against the judgments of military courts. (23)

The conflict between judiciary and executive in 1997 showed that there was very little if any regard for the most important institutions of the state. The high office holders merely used their positions to fulfill their narrow personal interests rather than defending any high ideals. Prime Minister used his absolute majority in the parliament in a very irresponsible way by hastily enacting new laws and even amending the constitution without any serious debate. It made mockery of the whole concept of representative government. On the other hand, bitter infighting among Supreme Court justices and reckless attitude of the chief justice shocked everyone. Chief justice really became a loose canon acting way beyond the legal norms. In an unprecedented manner, he was issuing orders from the bench ordering the president to nominate justices which he had selected. He was also issuing and suspending executive orders and even suspending constitutional provisions in a cavalier manner simply to humiliate Prime Minister.

A former chief justice Saeeduzaman Siddiqui long after his retirement pontificated that ‘by legitimizing military takeovers, the judges have abdicated their role to defend the constitution. (24) Siddiqui was the judge who colluded with the sitting government to oust his own chief justice. In addition, he served as chief justice for three month after General Mussharraf’s take over before being sent to the retirement wilderness . He conveniently forgot that during his tussle with chief justice, a number of senior lawyers came as mediators requesting supreme court judges to sort out their differences amicably to safeguard the sanctity of the institution of the supreme court but he went ahead and played a leading role in writing a sad chapter in the judicial history of Pakistan.

In 1996, supreme court deliberated about appointment of judges. Government fearful of the fact that the judgment will hamper its efforts to induct favorite judges pre-empted supreme court. The judgment was to be announced on March 20, 1996. On March 19, government announced the appointment of twenty judges to Lahore high court and seven to Sindh high court. Acting chief justices of both courts; justice Irshad Hasan Khan of Lahore court and justice Abdul Hafeez Memon of Sindh court were Supreme Court justices who were deputed as acting chief justices, administered oaths to new judges without even informing let alone consulting with the chief justice of the Supreme Court. (25) Both acting chief justices were appointees of Benazir and they returned the favor by administering oaths to newly inducted judges favored by government without informing the chief justice. Supreme Court justices finalized the draft of the order to be issued in case of recommendations about appointment of judges to higher courts. Government had pre-empted their move by appointing 27 additional judges to Lahore and Sindh high courts. Judges had decided to adhere to seniority principle and the short order was announced on March 20. One week later, chief justice Sajjad A. Shah held a meeting with president and agreed to confirm three acting/ad hoc judges (Justices Mukhtar A. Junejo, Raja Afrasiab Khan and Muhammad Bashir Jehangiri) as a ‘gesture of good will’ to the government. Within a week, chief justice had back tracked from the consensus opinion of the supreme court justices. He did not consult his fellow justices and it was no wonder that three justices (Ajmal Mian, Saeeduzaman Siddiqi and Munawar Mirza) admonished Shah for flouting the judgment regarding ‘judges’ case’. (26)

In an effort to avoid conflict with fellow judges or to be on the correct side, some justices didn’t live up to the expectations. In 1996, during the final version of the judgment of ‘Judges case’, there was disagreement between chief justice Sajjad A. Shah’s and justice Ajmal Mian’s version. Justice Fazal Ilahi Khan singed on Mian’s judgment on March 20 but when chief justice pressed him, he also signed on Shah’s judgment on April 3 even without reading it. When asked whether he had read the judgment because there was discrepancy between two judgments, he replied that he had no time to read it before signing it. (27) Fazal Ilahi Khan wanted to hedge his bets and did not want to ruffle any feathers even if meant an indefensible action. Retired justice Rafiq Tarar who had played an important role in splitting the judiciary at the behest of Nawaz Sharif became president of the country. When he had retired from Supreme Court in November 1994, he was not given a reference at his own request. Five years later, Supreme Court decided to honor him and he was invited for a dinner at supreme court where he was given a shield which was signed by all justices. (28)

The complex relationship of personal and professional responsibilities can be judged from one example. Agha Rafiq Ahmad, a junior session judge was a close friend of Benazir’s husband Asif Ali Zardari and he had helped in Sajjad A. Shah’s elevation to the post of chief justice of Sindh high court through Sindh chief minister Abdullah Shah, during Benzair’s first tenure (1988-1990). When Benazir was considering Sajjad for chief justice slot, Zardari held several meetings with Sajjad A. Shah and Agha Rafiq was present in some of those meetings. When Sajjad became chief justice of Supreme Court, he paid back his old friend. Agha Rafiq was serving as Director of PIA. Sajjad advised Benazir to appoint Rafiq as law secretary in the Sindh government and after sometime there he will be qualified to be appointed as a judge of higher court. (29) However, everyone was impatient and when Zardari wanted to elevate Rafiq to high court, Shah told prime minister that Rafiq was a very junior session’s judge (number 34 on the seniority list of 37) and it would create problems. However, Rafiq was elevated as Sindh high court justice. Chief justice of Sindh high court Abdul Hafeez Memon was pressured by a senator to nominate another junior session judge Shah Nawaz Awan (number thirteen on seniority list) for high court appointment. When chief justice Sajjad A. Shah asked Memon why he nominated him, he was told that he was being pressurized and the senator who wanted him to be elevated told Memon that if a judge who was number thirty four was being nominated then what was wrong with nominating number thirteen on the same list. (30)

Nawaz Sharif government elevated justice Mehbood Ahmad as chief justice of Lahore high court and second aspirant justice Muhammad Ilyas felt let down. Sajjad A. Shah, who was justice of supreme court at that time visited him and told him that ‘he should put his faith and trust in God, who would not let him down and would compensate him in some other way’. When Shah became chief justice, he nominated Ilyas who was by then retired for justice of supreme court. After taking oath, Ilyas was sent as acting chief justice of Lahore high court. (31) A judge was appointed to the supreme court not because he was fit for the post but to compensate him for some alleged injustice done to him and legal balls were juggled to give him the satisfaction to end his career serving as chief justice of a high court. A special accountability court headed by justice Malik Abdul Qayyum sentenced Benazir Bhutto and her husband on corruption charges during Nawaz Sharif’s government. In April 2001, supreme court set aside the judgment during the appeal when 32 tapes of secret conversations between justice Qayyum and then head of Accountability Cell and Nawaz Sharif’s aid Senator Saif ur Rahman were played. Sharif government had pressurized justice Qayyum to convict Benazir and her husband. (32)

Appointing judges as acting head of executives (Governor General, President, and Governor) gives some leverage to government. This practice has been followed for a long time in Pakistan. In 1950s, Munir served as acting Governor General when Ghulam Muhammad was away from country. Acceptance of positions in government during active service and openly joining politics after retirement also tarnishes the image of judiciary and creates doubts about their impartiality. Chief justice Muhammad Munir gave the historic decision of validation of General Ayub Khan’s martial law in 1958. Immediately after his retirement he accepted a government job in Japan. Later he also served as law minister during General Ayub’s rule. Political governments take care of their favorite justices even if they are pushed aside by their own brother justices. In 1996, Supreme court laid down guidelines for appointment to higher judiciary. This affected two retired justices who were appointed ad hoc justices of the Supreme Court and they were removed from Supreme Court. Benazir government obliged them by appointing one (Justcie Munir Khan) as provincial ombudsman and the other (Justcie Mir Hazar Khan Khoso) member of high powered Federal Public Service Commission.

Justcie Irshad Hasan Khan served as federal law secretary during the Martial Law of General Zia. He later rose to become chief justice of the Supreme Court (January 26, 2000 - January 06, 2002). High court justice Ghaus Ali Shah joined Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif and served as Sharif’s confidant for long time. Supreme Court justice Afzal Lone was sitting on the bench which restored Nawaz Sharif government in 1993. Later he headed the Lone Commission which absolved Nawaz Sharif of any wrongdoing in the cooperative scandal. Later, Sharif paid Lone back by nominating him to become senator. Supreme court justice Muhammad Rafiq Tarar after his retirement served Sharif’s business interests and was later elected senator on Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League ticket. He was duly rewarded by appointing him president for his loyal services. Tarar paid back by retaining his post when he agreed to general Mussharraf’s request to stay on as president when the later had booted out Nawaz Sharif and assemblies. Mussharraf in turn returned the compliment by unceremoniously sending Tarar home in June 2001. Tarar was booted out of the presidency by putting him in a private car and sent home in the most humiliating way. Mussharraff needed to act in this way not for a great national cause but he needed to get the lofty title of president to get the correct protocol during his upcoming visit to India.

If one takes into account the relationship of various judges with their political patrons and their judgments on crucial cases, then some questions arise about the motive of their judgments. Justcie Tarar saw everything wrong with Nawaz Sharif dismissal by president in 1993 and was as one of the justice of the Supreme Court bench which decided to restore Sharif government. Justcie Sajjad A. Shah saw everything wrong with Benazir’s dismissal in 1990. He was one of the two dissenting judges (the other one was Justcie Abdul Shakurul Salam) in a 1991 decision who did not approve of president’s decision to dismiss Benazir. He wrote that president had exercised his power with ‘malafide intention’. (33) In 1993, Shah saw everything right with Sharif’s dismissal and was the lone dissenter in a ten to one decision of Supreme Court which restored Sharif government. In 1997, when his relations had gone sour with Benazir, he viewed dismissal of Benazir kosher and even called president’s discretion of sacking prime minister as a balance of powers and ‘a safety valve to prevent imposition of martial law in the country’. (34) When president dismissed Benazir government in 1990, the dismissal was challenged in courts. Peshawar high court bench dismissed the petition by majority but justice Qazi M. Jamil was the dissenting judge. Jamil was also on the bench which restored provincial assembly. For these ‘crimes’, he was not confirmed by the president. Benazir duly rewarded Qazi M. Jamil by appointing him attorney general during her second term.

Chief justice Nasim H. Shah’s favorable tilt towards Muslim League and his antipathy towards Pakistan Peoples Party were well known. He had exchanged harsh words with chief justice Muhammad A. Zullah when later received Benazir at a function when she was opposition leader. He headed the bench which restored Sharif government in 1993. He had been humiliated earlier during Benazir government when Benazir refused to sit on the same table with him. The reason was that Nasim H. Shah was one of the justices who had upheld the death sentence of Benazir’s father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1979 (Nasim H. Shah was one of the majority justices on the bench which had given a four to three verdict of rejection of appeal of death sentence).

When chief justice Sajjad A. Shah was booted out by his own brother judges, the new court decided to clear up some contentious issues. All cases involving government and Prime Minister were dealt with judgments favorable to the government’s position. In March 1998, a seven member bench dismissed the petition challenging the 13th Constitutional Amendment. Interestingly, the petitioner was now not enthusiastic about perusing the case which suggests that the petition was part of the tussle between then chief justice (Sajjad A. Shah) and Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif) and after the ouster of chief justice no one was interested in it. In May 1999, the court acquitted all who were charged with contempt of court including prime minister and several members of parliament. After the dismissal of Nawaz Sharif’s government an appeal was field against acquittal in September 2000. A five member bench of supreme court heard the appeal and convicted seven accused of contempt of court sentencing them to one month imprisonment and 5000 rupees fine. (35) Such decisions only degrade the image of judiciary and average citizen loses faith in the institution. REFERENCE: Judicial Jitters in Pakistan – A Historical Overview Hamid Hussain Defence Journal, June 2007

Marvi Sirmed on Judicialization of Politics in Pakistan Part-2

Sharing with you this important document, which has left me shocked and extremely disappointed in the ‘wisdom’ of those who need to be the wisest. Amid all kinds of corruption allegations on politicians being pursued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCOP), one case got special treatment by the worthiest men of of this country – the graft case of Mr. Arsalan Iftikhar. Iftikhar is a 34 years old ‘innocent boy’ who was reportedly ‘lured’ into accepting a not-s-small sum of money from one Malik Riaz, the real estate tycoon who knows how to make the mare go. The innocence of Mr. Iftikhar is further proven by the fact that he happens to be the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan. The case was thus, taken up by none other than CJP himself, as a suo-moto action under Section 184(3) which allows the CJP to move the court if the case pertains to violation of fundamental rights and is of public interest. The case, definitely is of public interest and violates Mr. Iftikhar’s right to remain innocent for the rest of his life! The case, as was right thing to do, was disposed of by mildly lecturing all parties to ‘behave’. Why is it important to recall Mr. Iftikhar? Because his was not the only case where the worthy court to be partisan for its own interest. Responding to Public Accounts Committee, the elected watch body over the Auditor General of Pakistan that called Registrar of Supreme Court to present himself before the Committee and explained some overspending by the SCOP. Guess what happens next? The wise men in SCOP, came up with a document that conveniently leaves everyone in the SCOP outside the ambit of any elected watch body that oversees the transparency of financial transaction by public institutions including SCOP. Have a lok over how the Registrar of SCOP – an official who is not a judge – exonerates himself from legislature’s scrutiny. One wonders who is going to ensure transparency when even the most responsible institutions of this country try to evade law on the pretext of law. Ironic and sad. The language used in this document and disregard for transparency makes my wish it must not be what the worthy men in SCOP meant. Have a good reading experience please! Supreme Court, Pakistan, Chief Justice, Arsalan Iftikhar, Auditor General, Public Accounts Committee, Parliament, Judiciary, Pakistan. REFERENCE: SUPREME COURT AND PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE July 8, 2012· by Marvi Sirmed

Judges Plots and Public Accounts Committee

Asad Jamal on Judicialization of Politics

2012: United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Ms Gabriela Knaul: I am worried by the number and nature of reported cases of serious threats and attacks of judges. Physical security is an essential condition for judges to be able to carry out their duties without hindrance or interferences. I encourage the Government to consider setting up a special system of protection for judges in consultation with professional bodies and other associations of judges. I would like to commend the use of inherent powers of the Supreme Court in recent cases related to gross human rights violations, for instance in the case of enforced disappearance referred to as “missing persons” in Balochistan. I believe that by using this procedure in some cases, the Supreme Court is upholding human rights law and contributing to combating impunity. However, I am concerned by the lack of clear criteria guiding the use of suo moto, which can undermine its own nature and may jeopardize other pending cases from being timely considered by the Supreme Court. REFERENCE: United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Ms Gabriela KNAUL, Preliminary observations on the official visit to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan - Islamabad, 29 May 2012