Do we need to say more? Read the article’s contemptuous tone towards the PPP, Asif Zardari and support for Khwaja Sharif. “Mayn Sadqay Jaawaan aisee masoomiat par” that is being opinionated by Pakistan’s apex investigative journalist.
Justice Sharif erred, but was he trapped and provoked?
The News, Friday, July 02, 2010
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Khwaja Sharif apparently fell in a trap laid by the Presidency. Incited by loud mouthed and contemptuous presidential aides, the CJ reacted in an unguarded manner thus giving Asif Ali Zardari and his sycophants really a God-gifted and desperately needed opportunity to launch a scathing attack on the judiciary.
For the past few weeks, the frowning flunkies of the president were publicly making concerted efforts to provoke Justice Sharif by tossing wild accusations against him. What they have been saying in private against this noted judge was at times horrendous, even for saner elements. But their outbursts clearly conveyed the contempt that their boss has for Justice Sharif.
Whatever was the context of his talk and no matter what was the background of his utterance about the Sharifs of Pakistani politics or his suggestion to the PPP to leave the coalition in Punjab, Justice Sharif stumbled at the wrong time and this slip by one of the country’s top judges and a leading hero of the judicial movement dented the reputation of the already vulnerable and under-attack independent judiciary.
The centre-forwards of the Presidency, Faisal Raza Abidi and Fauzia Wahab, were really excited and are going for the goal, ever more aggressive against the judiciary than before. Even the likes of Raja Riaz and Rana Aftab of Punjab have started fuelling the fire to please their master, whose acrimony against independent judiciary is well known. In the days to come several other tongues would wag in the fashion Presidency wants them to.
President Zardari, who is facing serious corruption charges and after the quashment of the NRO is in confrontation mode with the judiciary to survive from accountability, had laid a trap to politicise the judiciary. Justice Sharif, known for his integrity, has been maligned on frivolous grounds by the presidential pawns for months.
An aggressive propaganda on media was launched to portray the top Punjab judge as Sharifs’ man. His sons were also charged with allegations of having been involved in dubious deals. Justice Sharif was also criticised for having been photographed, in an official function, with controversial retired police officer Rana Maqbool, who is hated by Zardari and is very close to the Sharifs.
The judiciary never reacted to these allegations and even ignored those attacks by the frustrated PPP riff-raff, who even wanted to infuriate the honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The judges continued to show maximum restraint, but this time Justice Sharif lost his cool. Previously too though he has been making statements or making observations that created stirs but his latest remarks, according to many including even by the likes of Hamid Khan and Justice (R) Tariq Mehmood, crossed the red-line.
It may be a slip of the tongue by a judge, who was at the receiving end of the PPP’s vilification campaign, but still even the diehard supporters of the present independent judiciary would not welcome what Justice Sharif said. People of Pakistan have attached high expectations with the judiciary. They know that the vested interest — the corrupt, the plunderers, the law breakers and the mafia — whether it is in the guise of a very small number of politicians or journalists, businessmen or government servants, generals or human rights activists, lawyers or civil society members, are unhappy with independent judiciary. They desire and conspire to demolish and demean the respected judiciary to pave the way for bringing back the era of Dogar courts where judges and justice could be put on sale yet again.
The judges’ code of conduct clearly says that a judge should not engage in any public controversy, least of all on a political question. Such questions whether relating to the judges’ code of conduct or to their behaviour whether in public or within the courtroom, are to be adjudged by the judges themselves and by the Supreme Judicial Council. However, what is really important is that the judges need to be extra-careful in their conduct. They must be cool, calculated and patient. They must avoid reacting in haste or instantly. These are of course difficult times for the independent judiciary, which is faced with such a band of crooked political breed which has no respect for law and institutions including the courts and apparently looks like on a suicide mission.
For them people’s vote allow them to do anything whether lawful or unlawful. The people’s vote, according to their interpretation, allows them to make mistakes, to challenge and even ridicule the courts, engage into corrupt practices time and again, and make illegal money. However, the judges belonging to the post-March 16, 2009 judiciary have no room to make any mistake, get into corrupt practices or get politicised. Not because of any other reason but for this mere fact that the people of Pakistan do not want them to waver even a little bit.