Political analysts highlight judiciary’s chance to restore credibility

In Local
April 04, 2024



KARACHI:

Political analysts see the full court hearing on the meddling case as a golden opportunity for the judiciary to restore its credibility, emphasising the need to identify the sender of the anthrax-laced letters sent to the 17 judges.

“Meddling in judicial affairs is not new in Pakistan. Since its inception, the judiciary’s work has been manipulated for political ends, shaping and breaking political parties,” remarked Naveed Hussain, Chief Editor of The Express Tribune, during an episode of the political talk show “Experts” on Express News, hosted by anchor Dua Jamil.

Hussain believes that it’s unsurprising if six judges penned a letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), highlighting alleged executive intrusion in judicial matters.

He stressed that these judges should be commended for their bravery in speaking out, but conversely, a vilification campaign has been launched against them.

Read more: Govt to probe ‘powder-laced’ letters to judges

The senior journalist emphasised that political parties often manipulate the judiciary for their own agendas, adding that throughout various governments, the judiciary has been used for political victimisation. Hussain cited that earlier, it was wielded against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, and now it’s being used against PTI founder Imran Khan.

He stated that the judicial system should have internally addressed the judges’ letter issue. While acknowledging the pressure from bars and the lawyer community opposing the government’s inquiry commission, Hussain stressed that appointing a commission led by a retired judge to investigate a complaint from serving judges was not appropriate.

The senior analyst observed that the credibility of the entire judicial system is at stake, adding that the incident presents a prime opportunity for the judiciary to identify and address those interfering in its affairs. “The origin of the anthrax-laced letters sent to judges, the vested interests behind them, must be thoroughly investigated,” he emphasised.

Group Editor of Daily Express Ayaz Khan sees the meddling case as make-and-break situation for the judiciary. Khan believes it is the best opportunity for the judiciary to make its image better.

Khan observed that if Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa had personally taken up the case, the outcome might have been different. However, he missed that chance. Now, fate has granted him another opportunity to act, and he has indicated to form a full court.

Read: SC probe sought into IHC letter issue

He also expressed deep concern about the anthrax-laced threatening letters sent to the judges, emphasising that the issue is grave and warrants serious attention.

He pointed out that sending such letters to 17 judges indicates a clear attempt at intimidation, suggesting a message that if they don’t stop, consequences will follow.

The senior analyst believes that nature has given the CJP another chance to become a leader, and this decision will become a milestone in the history of the judiciary.

He referenced the chief justice’s remarks, emphasising his stance against interference while acknowledging the paradox of tolerating it when empowering the prime minister to form the commission.

Faisal Husain, the Karachi Bureau Chief for Express News, stressed the significance of substantive judicial rulings, asserting their enduring impact on Pakistan’s political landscape compared to mere statements.

Faisal characterised the threatening letters to the 17 judges as part of a serious ongoing power play, likening them to “entertainment” and suggesting a recurrence pattern.

He contends that if Nawaz Sharif has been subject to unjust treatment by the judiciary, his case warrants re-examination, echoing parallels with the case of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

He insists that all parties involved in Nawaz Sharif’s case should be held accountable, emphasising that the repercussions of alleged mistreatment extend beyond Nawaz Sharif to the nation of Pakistan.

He insists that all parties involved in Nawaz Sharif’s case should be held accountable, emphasising that the repercussions of alleged mistreatment extend beyond Nawaz Sharif to the nation of Pakistan.

Express News Lahore Bureau Chief, Muhammad Ilyas, remarked on the critical juncture facing the judiciary, urging it to demonstrate its ability to uphold justice.

He stressed the necessity of convening a full court to thoroughly investigate any external pressures on the judiciary, following the CJP’s statement on non-tolerance of interference.

Amir Ilyas Rana, the Bureau Chief in Islamabad, cited Justice Mansoor Ali Shah’s comments affirming the Supreme Court’s respect for the autonomy of the high courts, cautioning that guidelines may be necessary if the CJP fails to act accordingly.

He expressed concern that while the commission might yield evidence, there’s apprehension that it may only offer recommendations or advice without substantial revelations.

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