Another deal – by Faizi Mughal

Mixing politics with judiciary is a murky but profitable business in Pakistan. In the name of rule of law and dispensation of justice, this business is flourishing by leaps and bounds. One important and advantageous aspect of this business is that parties could be changed according to wishes as Pakistan witnessed, on Nov, 28th, 1997.

But, now, there is no need to worry as this business is well settled among both the parties, i.e., right wing politicians and judiciary. The story of this business goes far behind when a successful deal was made between these businessmen when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed was executed; a perfect deal was also made when Benazir Bhutto Shaheed was charged with hundreds of forged cases and Asif Zardari was put behind bars. Now, once again, both the parties have struck a successful deal aimed at the ouster of Zardari.

The credit of intermingling politics and justice goes to the most notorious dictator in Pakistan’s history, General Zia-ul-Haq. Before the advent of autocracy in 1977, judges of apex court hesitated to attend official, religious and even family functions. However, after 1977, judiciary started flexing its arms, broke all the constitutional ambits and equally played its role joining hands in hands with a dictator. Judiciary increased its influence, the new era of nexus appeared between judiciary and establishment. The judiciary showed its loyalty with dictatorship and establishment through judicial execution of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Pakistan’s history witnessed a blackest day in 1979. The first victim of dictatorial judiciary was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed.

At the same time a political party opened its eyes in the leap of the military dictator. As an inheritor of the dictator, the party was equally liked by judiciary, and a new nexus built between politics and justice that is still reeling. Once again, proving to be more loyal than king, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed was victimized by the establishment-judiciary duo, and her husband was sent behind bars for eleven years without any conviction. Here, first time, cracks appeared between a dictator and relics of a previous dictator, and unlucky political gang was deprived of the support of judiciary. Judiciary (Iftikhar Chaudhry and others) struck a deal with a dictator (General Musharraf) and validated his rule according to their traditional formula of ‘yes sir’. But the deal could not proceed and judiciary was pinched. However, it got restored by the efforts of civil society and by the sacrifices of the same democratic party which had been bitten by the same judiciary. Rather than, beholden the Democratic Party, Judiciary forgot the favor and once again bind up with the relics of dictator striking a new deal and treading on the previous path.

Here came the only twist in the whole story. This time judiciary was masked up with notions of rule of justice and supremacy of law, with the sole agenda of hunting down Zardari. In the name of rule of law and justice, it crossed it all the limits.

The establishment-judiciary nexus, supported by a right wing political party, is evident through public statements of senior members of judiciary, who seem to be running short of logic as well as common sense. All the developed countries have media but we never cam across any judicial proceedings through media trial.  Judges have been there but we never came across political statements.

Is it suitable for judiciary to intervene in matters of executive? Do we find any such example at international level? Judiciary must devise a code of conduct for itself. Masses are well aware of the old nexus between Taliban patronizes and judiciary, and would never allow this dark side of history to recur again. This deal would never succeed.



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