ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said a purely political impasse does not have legal solutions and can only be resolved through dialogue between political leaders and their parties.
He was addressing a two-day (September 23 and 24) 9th International Judicial Conference organised by the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP), under the auspices of National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) at the Supreme Court building.
The theme of the conference centers around 75 years of Independence of Pakistan, titled, “Administration of Justice: 75 Years- Reflecting on the past and Looking Towards the Future.”
The CJP said the judiciary has no role to break a political deadlock, and like other citizens, it is our sincere hope that the political leadership of the country shall take necessary corrective steps and confidence building measures with national interest as their foremost consideration.
He said regardless of the efforts of the court to strengthen democracy in the country, progress can only be made if all political parties come together to follow the established democratic practices and perform their respective roles in the Parliament under the Constitution.
Justice Bandial urged upon the legislature, the executive, and other state organs to play their role to uphold rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution, as the judiciary alone cannot pursue these ideals single handedly.
The CJP said apart from enforcing the fundamental rights of marginalised segments of the society, the apex court has also delivered landmark judgments to reinforce other dimensions of rule of law. In this respect, the court has come a long way to become a champion for the cause of democracy in the country by burying the doctrine of necessity which in the past had been resorted to justify the imposition of martial law.
He recalled that the court had to intervene after the president ordered dissolution of the National Assembly in April 2022 on the advice of the then prime minister. He said the court found the dissolution as unconstitutional and ordered restoration of the National Assembly for the formation of a parliamentary government in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
Justice Bandial said the apex court has also been active in dispensing in social, economic and cultural justice to the people.
The chief justice said concerted efforts are underway to reduce the backlog of cases to ensure that justice is delivered inexpensively and expeditiously to litigants.
Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Athar Minallah speaking on “Role of judiciary in maintaining Rule of Law and upholding the Supremacy of the Constitution,” said as an institution we cannot be oblivious to the fact that history’s judgment of our performance thus far might not be flattering.
We have contrived concepts such as “holding the Constitution in abeyance” and justified the “doctrine of necessity,” he said.
“We authored cases such as Dosso, Nusrat Bhutto, Zafar Ali Shah and Tikka Iqbal Muhammad Khan, while having sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. We, as an institution, sided with usurpers that were all-powerful. And decided against them only mostly when they had fallen out of favour or had walked into the sunset.”
“We sent an elected prime minster to the gallows and it is ironic that we don’t accept the judgment as a precedent.
The disqualifications of chosen representatives under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution has raised questions.”
Such a high standard of scrutiny has never been applied in case of unelected usurpers and other public office holders.
History will judge us for how we refused to sit in judgment over those who trampled upon the Constitution. And that is OK. Nothing will be gained from denying history. But much can be gained by learning from it and resolving not to repeat our institutional mistakes.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022