What will be the fallout of another judicial crisis?

What will be the fallout of another judicial crisis?

On Saturday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary took suo motu notice against President Asif Ali Zardari’s decision to elevate Lahore High Court Justice Khwaja Sharif to the Supreme Court bench.

The Chief Justice had earlier recommended that Justice Saqib Nisar be made a judge of the Supreme Court, and so convened a three-member committee to hear why the government has made different appointments.

What impact will another judicial crisis have in Pakistan? Do you think a tussle between the executive and the judiciary will lead to greater political instability? Is this showdown distracting from other pressing national issues?

The following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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107 Responses to “What will be the fallout of another judicial crisis?”

  1. Suleman Rashid says:

    The Judiciary is doing its job well. The role of the Prosecution cannot be under-rated however. The Punjab Prosecution Department is performing an excellent role despite criticisms against Rana Maqbool Sahib. Innocent victims and accused also have a voice now in the prosecution department.

    Suleman Rashid

  2. S.A.Khan says:

    My assessment of people of Pakistan after a holiday in that country, is that they are emotional and gullible. They have been so mesmerized by the Chief Justice Choudhary that the nation does not wish to reason before blindly supporting him. It is the fault in the governance of the country that Chief Justice compelled the president to change the appointees to the bench of Supreme Court. In democratic set up, it is the Head of the state that appoints the judges in consultation with the Chief Justice, the bar and other relevant persons. He seeks recommendation, but as the decision maker it is his prerogative to fill the vacancies to best of his ability and knowledge. I learnt from reads that Pakistan Constitution wordings support my way of thinking. What has happened in Pakistan is that the Chief Justice becoming politicized, riding high with the masses who believe that the judiciary will change the culture of corruption, allowed the judiciary to hold the executive to ransom and had judges appointed to the pleasure of the Chief Justice. It is a wrong precedence in the governance of the country and a recipe for the tug of war between the institutions of the State. As Justice Choudhary has become politicized, I suggest as a patriotic citizen, he should exercise suo motto, resign and leave the key to his office under the mattress of his room for the new Chief Justice. The nicest way to resolve confrontation between the institutions of the state.
    SAK Khan [London GB]

    • zahid says:

      Mr khan I totally agree with you this chief justice never wish to bring those responsible to the justice who are blowing innocent Pakistani. In the shopping centers, mosque, public gathering and children’s school. He has become a politicized figure how can people of Pakistan expect justice from him.

    • Najamuddin Ahmed says:

      I differ with due respect for the views expressed by Mr. SAK Khan, as every one should have freedom of expression.

      • I could not understand that why people are taking it personal? It is not the fight between president and CJ, It is the matter of constitution. It is written in constitution that judges can only be appointed through the consultancy of CJ and Presidents position in it is merely a signature. The main problem is not the matter of appointing of judges but it is problem of how the corruption charges on President and on the cabinet can be avoided. The PPP is busy in saving their corruption instead of providing democracy, rule of law, justice and good governess to the public. It looks that our democracy lover’s only use democracy for the benefit of their well beings instead of making country prospers, united, strong. What we need at that time is the person who really cares for the country and become immortal for our nation.

  3. Tahir Rizvi says:

    President Zardari’s recent statements about his desire to avoid conflicts are very presidential and should be commended. Let us hope the Chief Justice will avoid conflicts with executive and legislative branches of the Government and remain focussed on dispencing justice. Egos are not good to have and are a distraction from the national service. Let everyone remain humble and devoted to the nation and the country. Pakistan needs leaders short on egos and long on devotion and service to the country.

  4. junaid azzi abbasi says:

    It’s not a Judicial crisis, Its system crisis. In our country every one is trying to grasp as much powers as he can by hook or by crook. The head of every department should be allowed to make appointments.

    President is a ceremonial post but Zardari sahab trying to get every power. The only solution to avoid any further crisis is to avoid entering in others domains.

  5. hn says:

    Why is anything negative or seemingly negative like this one attributed to enemies? Can’t Pakistan have any problems of her own? Just the fact that internal problems such as that between judiciary and PM is seen by some as doings of the enemy is in itself a problem.
    If problem is not recognized as such where is the true solution going to come from?

  6. Dr Fauzia Deeba Tareen says:

    I agree with Mr. Asmat Jamal who has termed judicial excesses as Judicial Martial Law. We all know that some of these judges were the one who took oath under the PCO and later exempting their own selves, shown door to other judges who had take oath under PCO. These double standards are unacceptable. Nawaz Sharif’s support for such a Judiciary comes from the “Concept of Mutual Benefit” principle.

  7. Syed Hasan Abbas says:

    I wont go into the debate of who’s right and who’s wrong here? Simply because neither I am a legal expert nor a ‘hafiz’ of the constitution!

    One thing, that I have perceived, from this continuous ‘battle’ between judiciary and executive for the last three years is its just the game / play / drama to achieve and sustain your chair and power! Sometimes its army’s turn, sometimes politicians’ turn and now sometimes its judiciary’s turn! Just in this case, I don’t understand why honorable chief justice LHC does not want to leave his ‘chief-justice-status’ and join SC of Pak? Throughout the last week, we have been told through media, about the wish of justice Saqib Nisar but why nobody goes and asks justice Sharif about what he actually wishes for?

    Moreover, Can we ask chief justice SC of Pak on what grounds did he recommend a Junior judge to be moved to SC ignoring a ‘much popular’ justice Kh Sharif? Is it just because the ‘always subtle and unclear’ constitution of Pak gives him this room?

    In my view, judicial impact: judiciary would turn out to be more powerful than ever before! but powerful does not mean ‘independent judiciary’, by powerful I mean, we would see more penetration of judges into the executive’s role!

    Result of this tussle: more political instability and insecurity for the govt. and then to all the politicians! I guess the situation would be like: “all the decisions would be made by the honorable judiciary and the govt’s role would just be to carry out all those orders else ‘the CJ of Pak could call COAS to make sure that his decisions are being carried out in a proper manner’!!!!”

    Showdown to distract from national issues: No, its just a showdown of power! the core national issues have never been important for any stakeholder and they would never be (at least in the next couple of decades to come)!

  8. Fakhar Ahmad says:

    You see I would like to make a point that every thing look nice if it is done properly and at right timings if the timing is not right or the thing it not done properly no one will like that. It is critical time when Pakistan sovereignty is at stake.


    Government should respect the recommendations of judiciary, if it wants result and proper functioning of judicial system.

    The SC has recommended in best interest of judicial process for the betterment of INSAF for quick disposal of cases.

    What’s the interest of Government in appointment of A OR B judge? Government should function in right way as per law and rule.

    In this scenario, the intention of Government is clear. Don’t try to fight, result nothing. Take care. Poor nation looks its leaders and expect alot of positive.

  10. Jhumghata says:

    It will not only destabilize the whole system but rather it would lead the country towards anarchy and that’s what the enemies of Pakistan want. Let’s show some sanity and not act as buffoons and play into the hands of our enemies.

  11. hn says:

    Actually such differences between the different arms of the government are a good sign and normal. They happen in any normally functioning democracy. At least no one is taking a gun and shooting the other party. The differences between the elected official and the CJ should be handled legally and political fallout handled democratically. I don’t know why some people are paranoid about outside forces in this “normal” governing operation.

  12. Jafar says:

    Both sides are responsible but I guess this time the lawyers/media and supreme court are on one side,

  13. hn says:

    Independent judiciary is key to sustaining any democracy. If Pakistan wants to be one, leave the judiciary alone and spare it from politics and military. But Judiciary must also have tooth to function. That can come only from people. So people must actively protest if judiciary is not allowed to function as it should.

  14. Tauqir says:

    No where does the constitution says that Chief Justice has the sole power and authority over the appointment and transfer of Judges and the Presidential signature is just a formality. Who are the justices playing?

  15. M.Saeed says:

    Justice Khwaja Sharif is senior to Justice Saqib Nisar and therefore must get the elevation to the supreme court. If the CJ has different reasons to favor the junior against the senior, he should clearly say so. There is point in making it an honor issue.

  16. David Wilson says:

    I don’t agree with the judgments of ‘V’ hours. There are more than a million cases pending in the Courts who will decide them? Are these Judges interested to sit and decide these cases from 7 pm – 11 pm. I think the present Chief Justice has now become a party, perhaps he along with some other Black Coats want to play a role of Messiah of our country. It is better all must know their boundaries and the rule of game. Please don’t play with the destiny of the country.

  17. ballu ballu says:

    Is there any person or entity in Pakistan who can drive country beyond these dangers. All the consecutive govt. since Zia Ul Haq time are eating Pakistan’s resources whether its judiciary or civilian or dictatorship.

  18. ali says:

    I agree that institutions should avoid confrontations and respect each other role. But despite all the tirades against Zardari it’s our Chief Justice who is acting like a dictator. No one in his judiciary dare speak against him while even people in his own party have disagreed with Zardari openly. People can deny all they want but CJ is being petty and have shown personal vendetta against the President. Zardari might have made many mistakes but he has made several compromises and have avoided direct confrontation with other. Can we say the same about our judiciary? Currently governing party and president have all the responsibilities and are expected to solve all the problems and are blamed when things go wrong while Security forces and Judiciary are enjoying real power and they are not answerable to anyone and I mean “anyone”. What is wrong with appointing a judge based on seniority? Media and opposition parties should be careful in their one sided criticism. Parties and presidents will come and go but elected members should always have more say in democracy as people send them to power. Even when PM and President make mistakes we should be patient as we have not allowed political system to work and they are learning. If they make mistake coming election they will be replaced if people want.

  19. SD says:

    I do not necessarily consider this conflict a bad thing. Our Constitution just like any other document created by humans is not perfect and clear about every possible issue. As it has always been the case that when you put a procedure to actual test then only you find out its shortcomings. That is why in a democratic world the parliament has the authority to amend the constitution and judiciary has the role of interpreting and clarifying it. The issue here is what “Consultation” means. Does it mean CJ’s “acceptance” or just his “advice”. I am sure this conflict will resolve this issue and strengthen our democracy. The Supreme court will issue its interpretation of the word “Consultation” and if the Parliament does not agree with it, they have the option to amend the Constitution. Just saying that the “Hell will get loose” or “Muslims cannot have democracy” is totally naive and shows one’s ignorance of the democratic principles. The fact is that Islam went against Monarchy and unlike in a Kingdom, created a Mujlis-e-Shura to take decisions instead of leaving those executive decisions in the hands of one person, Khalifa. If that is not democracy then what is?

  20. INSAF TIGER says:

    RE The seniority principle. Those asking for adhering to it should know that it does not apply to the appointment of high court or Supreme Court Judges appointment as per the rules.

  21. Muhammad Rizwan says:

    As the matter is in court I will suggest that the court should simplify the matter by setting up a mechanism where the senior most Judge will automatically be appointed to supreme court when ever a vacancy arises.

    This will take away powers from Mr. President as well as Mr. CJ to appoint their own men and this will also ensure that judges do not involve in corrupt practices just to seek promotions and appointments.

    Let’s set criteria where individuals do not influence the appointments to the judiciary.

  22. You’ve put three questions & i’ll try to give my point wise opinion against each :

    1) What impact will another judicial crisis have in Pakistan?
    Obviously, its not going to give a good impact and this situation could have been avoided.

    2) Do you think a tussle between the executive and the judiciary will lead to greater political instability?
    Yes, most likely. Again I would say it should have been avoided.

    3) Is this showdown distracting from other pressing national issues?
    Yes. What can be said if not yes? Bringing up already settled issues again and again is manifestation of this ploy.

    I also think that the current judiciary is fully capable of dealing with any such crisis and no third party should get involved otherwise they will get trapped in this ploy and will be thought to become a party who will help achieve objectives of this ploy.

  23. waqar says:

    Once again executive and legislature are having a tussle. So called democracy lovers are yet again interfering with judiciary. On one hand they celebrate and ensure that judiciary is independent but on the other hand they backstab them. Bad timing because country is already suffering and now this new circus. This will lead to more security breaching and conflict and common man is going to suffer.

    One biggest threat to democracy is violence which is on its way now but we never had a democratic government.

    President should have consultations with top judiciary personal before appointing someone. Mr. Zardari is seeking his benefits by bypassing Iftikhar Chaudhry due to his stance on NRO

  24. Haroon says:

    It is comfortng that our Judiciary is begining to assert its constitutional duty for the Rule of Law and majority of the civil society is standing behind this change. No illegal practices should be pardoned. The corrupt must be brought to Justice and punished. People of Pakistan have suffered enough and it is time we set an example for the sitting and future “Public Servants and Representatives”. Rise Pakistan.

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