• Sat. May 18th, 2024

Adliya No 138

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  • Adliya No 138

Defaced by its own sinister shenanigans

Kya pata qayamat guzar chuki ho aur hum jahannum mein reh rahe hoon.” Mustansar Hussain Tarar
What the mother of the child assaulted and traumatised by the wife of a judge told media should be a wake-up call for any responsible and socially aware society. But ours is no longer a society. The nation has been transformed over time into a violent, intolerant, lawless and heartless mob. Millions of helpless poor families are living in post “Qayamat jahannum” to borrow Mustansar Tarar’s expression.
The lady said that in Pakistan the poor people stood no chance of getting justice. She added that even in “kafir” countries, people get justice but in our Islamic state justice is only for rich people. For a representative of the proverbial “jaahil awaam” to have such clarity of negative views about the status of law and justice in the country is a very dangerous development indeed. That is without doubt the general “awaami” sentiment and perception which in turn is generating continually growing anger, frustration and even hatred towards the rulers in general and judges in particular.
Is the judiciary aware of how the public view its performance? From the conduct of the previous 5 or 6 Chief Justices of the Supreme Court in particular, it seems they are deaf and blind to ground realities. It is said that justice is blind but in our case, it is the judges who are blind and justice is deaf to the cries of painful cries of the common man.
Unfortunately for the country and its image globally, the World Justice Project’s (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2021 report published in October 2021, placed Pakistan among the lowest ranked countries in adherence to the rule of law (ranking 130th out of 139 nations). That too doesn’t seem to bother or embarrass our judges in the least. In most countries, people trust their judiciary to be custodians of the rights and liberty of its citizens. That is the fundamental role of judiciary in civilized societies.

How about this? Chief Justice Bundial who should be the highest authority to ensure fairness in all matters has himself repeatedly chosen to promote judges to the Supreme Court in violation of the seniority principle. If he is not bothered about rules and regulations in the institution he heads, why would he even be concerned about others? Countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Sudan rank above Pakistan’s judiciary. Countries ranked below Pakistan include Myanmar, Haiti, Bolivia, Afghanistan and some others. Flattering company for Pakistan’s judiciary indeed, immediately above and below for a country taking pride in being the only Muslim nuclear power in the world!

Judges are like match referees. A referee is said to have had a good game if he is NOT the subject of performance discussion after the game. Ditto for judges. A good judgement is one where only the judgement becomes the subject of discussion, NOT the conduct of the judge or judges who delivered it. That is a rough barometer for rating judiciary’s performance by the domestic public. When was the last time people said, “Ah ha, what a fine or courageous judgement?” I can’t recall any. On the contrary, from top lawyers, leading media persons to the street vendor and rickshaw drivers, all can predict in advance the expected judgement with accuracy based purely on the names of judges who constitute the bench for every case of public interest. That is evidence that the current judiciary is fast tracking towards a complete meltdown; delivering justice is not even part of the DNA of this lot. The present set up consisting mainly of promoted “out of turn” judges needs to be dismantled and replaced with judges promoted purely on merit and the seniority basis.

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