Pakistan’s supreme court has asked parliament to review a constitutional amendment that would see senior court judges appointed by a parliamentary committee, delaying a potential divisive change to the relationship between the judiciary and the government.
The ruling on Thursday came after legal challenges were launched against a number of parts of the 18th amendment, which deals with changes to presidential and parliamentary powers as well as the appointment of judges.
“We would like to refer to the parliament for reconsideration, the issue of appointment process of judges to the superior courts,” the chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, said. “Parliament is asked to review Article 175-A, for it has harmed judiciary’s freedom,” he said. “To enable the parliament to proceed and re-examine the matter in terms of the observations made above, these petitions are adjourned to a date in the last week of January 2011,” the order signed by 17 supreme court judges, said.
All cases of fresh appointments “shall be processed forthwith under Article 175A,” the court directed.
The court in its [interim]order observed that political sovereign i.e. the people, being trustees of a “sacred” trust in the distribution of powers under the Constitution, did not make judges supreme arbiters on issues purely political but they wanted the judges to do “right to all manner of people according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.
Although , the decision was widely welcomed in political and legal circles as a positive development toward harmonious relations between the judiciary and the executive yet PPP workers, supporters and sympathizers [still] think that, there in fact is no independent, upright, honest, constitutionally working and free judiciary in Pakistan and present judiciary is very much PPP ‘centric’, anti democratic and establishment friendly.
There is a strong perception that the judiciary wants to maintain and sustain its hegemony & legitimacy over and above the Parliament and only targeting the PPP in the name of accountability. There are voices from the ranks of the PPP and independent analysts that the focus of the media, civil society and the opposition has been on only a few cases against the PPP leaders, whereas there are about 8,000 beneficiaries of the NRO involved in heinous crimes like murder, kidnapping for ransom and embezzlement.
The Supreme court has done a 180-degree rotation since the judiciary’s restoration, and is now more a friend to the establishment than a threat, and due to the new role assumed by the [so called] independent judiciary, the democratically elected government is facing worst sort of Judicial Dictatorship
The nation would only start viewing it as independent judiciary and respecting this judiciary once it takes on Nawaz Sharif , Pervez Musharaf and all his abettors for 12th October 1999 and his later acts.
If supreme court had been worked as per true constitutional intent, democratic purpose and ethical spirit then it should have gracefully returned all petitions challenging constitutionally passed 18th amendment in the constitution via normal parliamentary processes being non maintainable [on the first day], but, lamentably, its Pakistani supreme court with its own colonial history and often its own agendas and behind the sight workings. It has wasted six precious month of the nation to find middle path? the Supreme court has no power to even admit petitions against constitutional amendments what to speak of reviewing them, parliament has unlimited, supreme and unfettered right to amend constituion in any way it wants and it can’t be called in question in any court.
As for any interpretation powers of supreme court they are also applicable only in cases where any provision is not clear or is grossly vague-not on anything of its own choosing and picking for certain reasons and agenda or on the behest of those working in these lines in our political and judicial history and state of affairs.
Its powers of judicial review too are limited and subject to wide controls and caveats.
Above all under no circumstance it can and be allowed the role of another legislation making body, that is also one area where much is wrong, interpreting and that too vague provisions is one thing, manipulatory assuming and snatching away legislative powers and becoming a sort of final arbiter and final authority on such powers and legislative function itself is completely another.
A perception [if]the Supreme Court really wants to change than it has to ensure that there is across the board accountability and judges do not have any bias against the present government or PPP. The apex court should also reopen other cases of the opposition and take up Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan’s case whereby politicians including Mian Nawaz Sharif received millions, a move that will be reflective of across the board accountability.
Here I also want to share [my friend] Faheem Aamer’s comment on my facebook link:
It was our stupidity who bore police battens and remained behind the bars for the restoration of these judges. We were made fols in the name of Rule of Law and we were shown that a judge is taking a stand against a military dictator. Unfortunately that was another eyewash; another cheating with us, with the nation.
Historically speaking, Pakistani Judiciary has always been a tool of political victimization in the hands of military dictators and still it is. If Iftkhar Muhammad Chohdri is targeting one party, its nothing new. Its we who were cheated and we do not eliminated the word justice from our dictionary. Now the justice will be done in the streets. No more false hopes from that CJ who so much resembles with Zia, I mean Maulana Iftkhar Muhammad Chohdry