History will tell intentions of Pakistan’s judiciary whether they wish to have a larger pie in the state power or dancing on the tunes of someone else such as military.  Justice Munir played with justice in 1954 by creating doctrine of necessity so the current players of judiciary apparently playing the similar role in the name of democracy. How the judiciary has been acting in reference to Pakistan Peoples Party, particularly for the last one year, creates doubts about their intentions.

Zulfiqar Ali bhutto and JudiciaryThe judiciary has history of giving debatable decisions against PPP’s top leadership; for example, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hanged in 1979 (1) which is considered judicial murder; then, Benazir Bhutto’ regimes twice topple down by the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990 and the President Sardar Farooq Leghri in1996 on the charges of corruption and judiciary supported the decisions but Nawaz Sharif government which was dismissed on the same charges was restored.  The judiciary history in relation to impartial decision making is not very splendid.

Evaluating recent political events it appears that the judiciary is acting on a hidden agenda in the name of accountability and democracy.  They took immediate action on the Memogate (Ref.2) in which the then ambassador of Pakistan in USA was accused that he had sought American authorities’ intervention to prevent any speculated military coup against the civilian government.  It was stated that the ambassador worked against the interest and sovereignty of the state and malign Pakistan military.  Even if we accept that it is true as the commission report says, it is still a question, is this action of the ambassador new to Pakistan’s politics? Of course, not.  Many politicians and military rulers sought and accepted such interference in the past.  It was USA who helped Benezir and Musharraf to sign a deal and reduce their differences. Saudi Arab and other countries were part of the deal that that Nawaz Sharif and family were exiled to Jeddah though they were convicted.  Judiciary never reacted in the same manner as they did in the case of Memogate.

They were quite quick in dethroning Yousaf Raza Gilani’s government from the office (Ref.3) on the shorteres (30-60 seconds) conviction which he received in the contempt case (Ref. 4). In the case, the Judiciary completely ignored Speaker’s ruling which stated that he was not disqualified from the membership of the National Assembly after the conviction.  It indeed created challenging situation for Zardari. In response to the situation, PPP nominated three people for the vacant post, namely, Makdoohm Shuabuddin, Raja Pervaiz Asharaf and Qamar-ul-Zaman Qaira. Makdoohm Shuabuddin was the first choice of the party whose arrest warrant immediately issued on the same day when he submitted his nomination form though he was accused for corruption for so many months but nobody moved against him (Ref. 5).  A few days ago, Lahore High Court argued the court only recommended but did not issue the order to Zardari, as a President of Pakistan, not to hold two offices or convene political meetings in presidency. On 22 July 2012, the court issued notice to the President office as to why order were not followed (Ref.6). This restriction is also unprecedented in Pakistan. General Musharraf was holding all political activities in the president house and no one objected.

Musharraf and judiciaryThe point is when Musharraf was holding in power, everybody knew the fact that PPP would win the elections and Zardari would call the shouts as the head of the party. Everybody knew that he was corrupt so why were they all supporting, including the judiciary? Were they expecting that elections would turn him into Messiah?  Moreover, other political leaders are not as pious. The recent comments of Chief Justice Chaudhyr Iftikhar Hussain for Chudhry Shujaat Hussain are also alarming. He said to Chudhry Shujaat Hussain that he was honorable person to us and he did not need to appear in the court and his lawyer could appear in the court for questioning (Ref.7).  Everyone knows that people like Hussain will be the first to join the army ship if army stages a coup against the civilian government. Besides, he and his family members are famous for corruption as Zardari. Similarly, cases have been filed against Shabaz Sherif and family members but they are either not on the priority list of the courts or hearing progressing on snail pace.

Ugly and Fraud zardariThe author has no intention to support Zardari and his team but to address the issue of justice.  The judiciary must act in a judicial manner for everyone; however it does not appear to be the case.  Judiciary soft corner is very evident for others but not for the PPP leadership, which is contrary to the norm of justice. By adopting such a behavior, judiciary leading Pakistan nowhere except enhancing the perception that they either wish to increase their power or acting upon the advice of powerful military.  It appears that both institutions are worried to continuous popularity of the party and it is very likely Peoples Party wins the elections in 2013, if hold.

Nadeem Yousaf




1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/4/newsid_2459000/2459507.stm
2. http://dawn.com/2012/01/16/timeline-from-nro-to-memogate/
3. http://dawn.com/2012/06/19/speaker-ruling-case-sc-resumes-hearing-2/
4. http://dawn.com/2012/04/26/pm-arrives-at-sc-for-contempt-verdict/
5. http://dawn.com/2012/06/22/anfs-ambush-fells-shahabuddin/
6. http://epaper.dawn.com/DetailNews.php?StoryText=23_06_2012_002_007.