To The Honorable Chief Justice Of Pakistan

June 5, 2017 Asia , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , Pakistan , POLITICS

supreme-court

AFP photo

 

By

Imad Zafar

 

I am an ordinary citizen of this country. Like my million countrymen I am living to meet the needs of daily life for myself and my kids. My life is being spent in this country by watching different kinds of power circuses.

First martial laws were imposed and we the common citizens were told that these would bring prosperity to the country, but nothing changed. Then the slogan of accountability was raised and we were told that after holding politicians accountable, billions of dollars would be recovered from them and be deposited in the national exchequer, but it never happened. After living on these false promises and under the influence of propaganda, many citizens like me finally learnt that it is the evolution of the democratic system that will solve the problems of the common man in Pakistan. When, during the Musharraf dictatorship rule, our Supreme Court judges were terminated forcefully and the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry was terminated and manhandled publicly, I along with my countrymen came to the roads to protest against the brutality. Being a common man and also a journalist I participated in the movement for the restoration of judiciary and was beaten many times by the then law agencies under Musharraf.

But when the judiciary was restored and Iftikhar Chaudhry reinstated as Chief Justice of Pakistan I thought that the pain and suffering during the movement for restoration of the judiciary was really worth it. It gave me and millions of others new hope that from now on our superior judiciary would rectify its errors. It will never indulge in any power games, it will never validate any martial law nor will ever become a party on the political chessboard. We also had the hope that now our superior judiciary would focus on providing quick and speedy justice to the common man and would surely lay a policy to make a better system of the lower courts. But contrary to that what we saw was a judicial series of suo motu notices and every single headline of the newspaper and television channels became the source of hundreds of such notices.

An elected Prime Minister of the Pakistan Peoples Party was sent home by our honorable superior courts while right now another elected Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, is facing the chances of meeting the same fate. Throughout, the dictator who imprisoned the judges of the Supreme Court and sacked them unconstitutionally and who again and again exploited and suspended the constitution of Pakistan was allowed to flee the country and no honorable court was able to bring him to justice. For sure you and your honorable colleagues better understand and know why he was spared.

But watching a dictator like Musharraf living abroad enjoying a luxurious life while on the other hand watching elected representatives of our country always being held accountable to the courts raises a question as to why does the honorable court only have an interest in convicting the elected and civilians leaders of the country and why are the dictators never held accountable for their crimes by the highest courts?

Forget the powerful dictators, let’s have a quick look into the recent famous cases. Khadija Siddiqui, a young girl from Lahore who was stabbed 23 times in daylight on a busy road and somehow miraculously survived, is still seeking justice. The attacker is a son of a powerful lawyer so all she is getting after months of hearing is just another date for the hearing. Even the suo motu notice of a Lahore high court judge did not prove instrumental in giving her justice. People who were killed in the recent Bahria town incident, their loved ones are still looking at you, as you took the suo moto notice of the incident but to date not a single person from the mighty housing society is being brought to justice.

Dozens of lawyers who were burnt alive in Karachi during the movement for the restoration of the judiciary, their families are still seeking justice. The honest NAB officers who actually recovered billions of rupees from corrupt people and in return were fired from their jobs are still looking at this system and wondering is this the reward for being honest? Hundreds of people come to the Supreme Court daily in the hope that you and your honorable colleagues will notice them and listen to their cases as they have no belief in the lower courts. And millions of people while seeking justice in the lower courts have lost their lives, but their cases remain unheard.

When I see millions of people suffering to get their cases heard at lower and higher courts it makes me think why is it that our superior courts have all the time to take up politically motivated cases but find no time for ordinary people’s cases or why our honorable senior courts do not find time to address the problems in the lower courts and judicial system. Honorable chief justice Zulfikar Bhutto was also tried by the courts under the same accountability slogan, he was hanged but his political popularity and ideology still live today and his party is running the province of Sindh, testimony to the fact that the fate of political leaders can never be decided in court; the political leaders are accountable to the common people and it is the common people’s court that actually implement accountability with the power of the vote. Nawaz Sharif was declared a hijacker and sentenced to life imprisonment by the honorable courts, he was also barred from holding any public office or any form of political activity. But he is currently the Prime Minister of Pakistan, while the orders against him stand nowhere.

 

Honorable sir you are a chief justice and you are much more aware and capable than me to understand who always benefits from convicting politicians in the name of accountability. Dear sir you can convict anyone found guilty, be it Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif or Imran Khan, but please stop giving references of fictional underworld characters from novels in the remarks and notes and kindly stop comparing the political leadership with the Italian mafia. As when your honorable colleagues term the elected leaders as mafia, it is actually a contempt of the mandate of millions of voters who elect them to run affairs.  If passing a comment on the honorable judiciary is considered a contempt of court, then why is the terming elected representatives mafia and dons without any conviction not contempt of millions of voters?

Honorable sir, we the common citizens are already living under the sword of contempt. Criticizing the judiciary is contempt, questioning fabricated values and narratives wrongly associated with religion is contempt, questioning institutions is contempt or treason, kids like Mashal Khan are killed under the charge of contempt of religion and girls like Ambreen Riasat are burnt alive for the contempt of male honor and family pride. Honorable sirs, kindly once and for all take a suo motu notice and decide for us that what kind of freedom of expression we the common people and journalists can possess. Rather bar us from discussing anything other than the price of vegetables or cricket matches and movies or grant us our fundamental right of freedom of expression that is given to us under the Article 19 of the Constitution.

Honorable sir, do take up the politically motivated cases but please also take up the cases of the common people. Convict whoever you find guilty but sir kindly take a suo motu notice on the whatsapp scandal according to which registrar of the Supreme Court called high bureaucracy to get two controversial people appointed as part of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), probing the Prime Minister’s family over the Panama case issue. Kindly take a suo motu on the leaking of the picture of the Prime Minister’s Son sitting in front of the judiciary as it appears that someone from inside the JIT team is leaking all proceedings thus creating an impression that, God forbid, your colleagues are part of a conspiracy or lean in favor of one party in this case. Long live the honor of the courts but protecting honor of the common citizen and protecting the mandate given by the common people to the elected representatives is also your responsibility. We are sure that you and your honorable colleagues will do your duty.

 

 

 

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar is a journalist based in Lahore. He is a regular Columnist/Commentator in newspapers. He is associated with TV channels, radio, newspapers, news agencies, political, policies and media related think tanks.

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