ATP Poll: Judiciary vs. Government – Good, Bad, or Outright Ugly?

Posted on May 24, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll, Law & Justice, Politics
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Adil Najam

Today (Monday) was supposed to be the big showdown between the Supreme Court and the Government on the question of the legality of the 18th Amendment. The date for that showdown has been pushed forward to the end of the month. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is supposed to be anther big showdown between the Supreme Court and the Government; on the issue of the NRO and its beneficiaries.

Irrespective of the questions about which way either of these should or would go (or why), one looks at the news and wonders if this tension and tussle between the Supreme Judiciary and the Government has gone too far. We thought we should ask you: is this good, bad, or outright ugly?

More importantly, what might be the impacts of these developments on the institutional structures and precedents in Pakistan. Is this a sign of a maturing institutional landscape where a new balance of power and a system of checks and balances is emerging? Or is this a sign of impending breakdown of the institutional balance?

What do you think. Especially, what do you think about the longer-range impacts of these developments. No matter how these cases end, will they leave Pakistan’s politics stronger, or weaker? And why?

21 responses to “ATP Poll: Judiciary vs. Government – Good, Bad, or Outright Ugly?”

  1. Aziz says:

    @Watan Aziz – Very well said.

  2. DARWEESH says:

    PPP top leadership trying to be too clever,through Babar Awan,they have been able to buy some time from Supreme Court but it may not work for a long time
    Time running short for Third Time “Lut Mar Group”.Within party things make take dramatic turn and too clever may prove to be just”fools of the first water” thanks to USA-Pak Army-Judiciary-Media Axes

  3. Salman says:

    Judiciary and Terrorists are just two of the “strategic assets” of our great army.

    Still, the judiciary becoming more powerful than the parliament is worse than the army overpowering parliament in a direct attack. That way they at least had to work on face-saving.

  4. Watan Aziz says:

    The courts in Pakistan are broken.

    They have been since the passing away of Jinnah.

    I do not know if the good folks in Pakistan have heard this news or not. Even the blind man has read it. The deaf has heard it.

    Article 175 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan states, “The Judiciary shall be separated progressively from the Executive within fourteen years from the commencing day.”

    Kindly share when did this happen? If the math is right, 1973 + 14 is 1987.

    So, when the Chief Justice of Pakistan was slapped by a policeman, within the sight of the police and civil establishment, did people not know that very moment that the judiciary is so badly broken? That the executive is ready to stop at nothing? That the parliament is impotent?

    Was that not a wakeup call?

    There have almost been no changes in Rules of Procedure and Rules of Evidence since Ghulam and Munir started the systematic process of destroying the constitutional process and the judiciary.

    The supreme leader and the first usurper did not fix it. The second usurper and the debauch did not fix it. The awami leader did not fix it (may be even tried to rig it.) The evil usurper and the self-proclaimed amir did not fix it (and actually destroyed it with his evil co-conspirator Brohi). The musical chairs did not fix it. The next usurper and enlightenmentwala did not fix it. As a matter of fact, holds the world record for mass resignation of judges of superior courts.

    And now, with the new amendment, nothing is fixed, except the power play on how to appoint and dismiss the judges. No nothing, nota, zilch, zero, bubkas is fixed for the common man.

    The parliament can fix this tomorrow. They can roll up their sleeves and write up reforms that totally reorganizes the judiciary. As the judiciary should have been. The drama of “benches” will go away. The judicial tyranny of “contempt of court” will disappear. The creation of tiered judicial process that creates justice and not laws will happen. Even the reformed docket procedures will force new rules of procedure and rules of evidence. In short, justice that makes sense for the weak.

    And if there are real reforms, everyone will see them too.

    The mention of list of cases is evidence of the bias and not a discussion on judiciary and reforms for judiciary. The question in this post by the author displays a bias itself. And he should know, he uses words carefully. Very carefully.

    But the real reforms will bring in a more effective judicial process. More judges for the lower courts. Better rules of procedure and rules of evidence.

    And that is something, as someone put it, the “ashrafia”, the elite, of Pakistan cannot afford.

    Their gig will go up.

    And Mai Jori Jamali will not have to travel anymore for 2 miles to get the kind of water that these “ashrafia” folks will not even want to choke in.

    And Shazia Masih would be alive and attending a school with proper healthcare.

    And if you do not know who Mai Jori Jamali or Shazia Mashi are and what the issues surrounding them are, chances are that you are not on the side of justice and equity. And chances are that you want the judiciary to remain broken. It is a nice game of keeping power for the “ashrafia”.

    Because these reforms are a bigger loss for these folks since none of them can face laws that uphold justice.

    I must say, there is much a Muslim does not know. But there is one thing every Muslim knows very well, it is justice and absence of it. The Rehman and Raheem has meanings for Muslims.

    And it all comes back to Jagan Nath Azad’s poem:

    Daulat hai apne mulk key bay’hudd-o-bay’hisaab
    Hon’gay hum aapp mulk key daulat say faiz’yaab

    (The country’s wealth unlimited and boundless
    We will all be blessed by the wealth)

    So, next time, when you complain, do keep in thoughts Shazia Masih.

    The weakest of the weak. How will she get the justice? If you get that right, you have it right for every Pakistani.

    And that day, judiciary will be working right, for every Pakistani.

  5. banjara286 says:

    one need only support the democratic process, not this or that government. sure the govt of the day has a lot of faults but that is true of all past govt as well, including the two previous stints of ameer-ul-momineen.

    it is only be letting the process run that the awam will learn the harsh lesson of how to elect better people. it is a painful process and it is going to take time. no one, not the sharifs, not the army, or anyone else, has overnight solutions to all our ills. the best option is to swim or sink with the process. the govt. should be allowed to complete its term and, if it has to be booted out, let it be by the votes of the citizens rather than the back room machinations of the establishment and opportunistic politicians.

    the supreme court is on a power trip. its tantrums have nothing to do with delivering justice. let us see them haul in kiyani to answer about the missing persons and the sordid past of isi.

    enuff said!

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