Yesterday Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s escort cars met with an accident. Nothing happened to the car in which Justice Iftikhar was travelling. However, within minutes the rumor-bazaar came alive with the right-wing Urdu anchors and reporters insinuating who might be behind the accident. This is not unusual because this is what our Urdu media, print and electronic, is all about.
But the most dangerous statement came from Lahore High Court’s Chief Justice Khwaja Sharif. He left no ambiguity when he said that the accident was in fact a conspiracy against Justice Chaudhry by the people who wanted him to give certain decision in their favor. “Perhaps it was a warning because the CJP is tightening the noose around powerful mafias,” he said. If you know a modicum of the present situation in Pakistan, you would know that he was referring to the NRO cases which are being tackled by Justice Chaudhry and his fellow judges. These cases involve President Zardari, amongst others. The enemies of President Zardari have been egging on Justice Chaudhry to deal with the NRO cases and “punish the culprits” by which is meant only President Zardari and People’s Party’s ministers. Nawaz Sharif has recently said that Pakistan’s biggest problem was NOR, and nothing else. It is significant to note that only 15 out of 8000 NRO beneficiaries belong to People’s Party.
Justice Sharif by insinuating that President Zardari was behind the “attack”” on Justice Chaudhry is trying to create a place for himself in Nawaz Sharif’s fold once he retires just like his great friend and mentor Justice Tarar of Lahore High Court did and was later rewarded by being elevated to the post of Pakistan’s president. It is clear that Justice Sharif is Justice Tarar in the making. In an exceptionally corrupt country like Pakistan this is not surprising. But in order to show his loyalty to Nawaz Sharif, Justice Sharif has crossed all limits of decency and political maturity. He is lighting a fire which will burn more than he expects. As a judge he is not supposed to talk like a politician, but take a look at his statements recently and you will realize that he is a demagogue running for a political office. For example, after condemning the “attack” on Justrice Chaudhry, Justice Sharif had a few pearls of his own brand of wisdom: (i) The country’s leadership should come from the middle class; otherwise Pakistan’s problems would not be solved (One wonders if he thinks Nawaz Sharif is a middle class politicians with a worth of a few billion dollars); and, (ii) those people carryoing our suicide bombing are not Muslim (Does he think the Taliban are not Muslim?).
He is too quick to see every crime committed in Pakistan, but he has not seen a single crime in which Nawaz Sharif’s party men and women have been involved. Even when these men and women were caught on camera.
Justice Sharif, just shut up and do your job. If you cannot dispense justice, then formally join Nawaz League and do politics. But maybe a conscientious act is too much to ask of you.