KARACHI (May 5th): We, the citizens of Pakistan, welcome PPP’s and PML-N’s new promise to restore deposed judges by 12th May 2008. We hope that, this time round, the promise shall be kept.
At the same time, we condemn the proposal to retain the ‘judges’ appointed by General (R) Pervez Musharraf after 3 November 2007. These ‘judges’ happily accepted judicial appointments in place of those courageous souls who refused to bow down before a dictator and take oath under the PCO. These freshly appointed ‘judges’ were willing accomplices in Musharraf’s scheme to subvert the Constitution and destroy judicial independence and went out of their way to endorse his actions. By doing so, they betrayed the legal and judicial fraternity and the nation as a whole.
If political parties protect the appointments of such ‘judges’, they will be sending out a loud and clear message to future judges: if you dare to resist a dictator, you shall be unceremoniously removed and face months of illegal detention. On the other hand, if you endorse the dictator’s actions by taking oath under his PCO, not only will you enjoy judicial office during the dictator’s reign but any incoming democratic dispensation will go out of its way to protect you.
It is proposed that the sanctioned strength of the Supreme Court be increased to accommodate those junior judges of the High Courts who were elevated to the Supreme Court in the post-3rd November period – in preference to their more deserving and conscientious seniors – simply on account of their willingness to take oath under the PCO. This proposal is nothing more than a PCO-bonus scheme and we are confident that parties that are genuinely committed to banishing the spectre of military intervention from Pakistani politics and to the ideal of judicial independence shall reject all such proposals.