Inside the mind of a Supreme Court Judge

SC PakistanSupreme Court of Pakistan is about to give its verdict on Qazi Hussain Ahmed’s petition and it should be interesting to find out what possibly would be going through the mind of a supreme court Judge sitting not only at one of the most important and respected position in Pakistan but also at the brink of a possible division in history between pre & post 9 march of Pakistan.

The long & eventful struggle by people of Pakistan led by highly active lawyers community along with the civil society finally came to an end (or new beginning?) on July 20, 2007. I didnt mention political parties in above on my personal analysis of their failure to prove their sincerity & dedication with the cause, except possibility Imran Khan, the Center right voice who raised the slogan of No-Justice No-progress in 1996 when even prominent political voices like Benazir & Nawaz hardly seemed bother about this important balance-act in a society and country.

This post, in no way attempts to predict an outcome in this petition. It only tries summaries different influences that are not alien to a Judge’s mind

Post 20 July events are equally worth a note. We saw a new, & I call it renovated, Judiciary (unlike “liberated as majority thinks) showing some signs of activism. Qazi Hussain Ahmed went to court challenging president’s dual office status for elections, testing judicial metal of freedom. Keep in mind that during this period PPP & govt. were close to a deal and MMA seemed divided itself on the issue of resignations. Both events later resulted in formation of APDM. Politicians, this time again seemed undecided about their direction. I mentioned above few facts for an important reason that i shall dwell into later.The case is being heard by a 9 member bench headed by Justice Rana Bhagwandas.

During proceedings different observations were made by SC judges which are not only interesting in meaning but more importantly in context. Hard-line anti-Musharraf groups may view it as an diversion from a free judiciary (renovated in my words). Is that really the situation?. If so, what are the possible reasons?. SC’s one observation was related to how it can reject an amendment approved by parliament, referring to the deal done by MMA with government that allowed Musharraf to stay in uniform. Parliament is supreme in a parliamentary form of governance. A similar argument was earlier floated when SC was hearing CJP case that met an equally interesting reply from one lawyer who asked what if parliament allows marriage between Brother and Sister. Will the SC still take the same position?. The point was should SC always see a case through the glass provided by the constitution or see otherwise too when justice demand.

The observations gave an impression that not only the Judges are unhappy with the fact that all burden has been thrown onto Judiciary & unfortunately every Tom Dick & Harry thinks SC is a place to settle political scores. Its indeed not going well with a SC judge that political parties disobey public mandate when they see fit, break rules & abandon principles when they engage in deals in order to ensure a share in power but when things dont work out they choose the court to wash their dirty linen. How can the SC judges forget MMA dealing with a dictator only for its own good few years back, providing him the dream package to escape constitution?, that the same MMA is a partner in crime in two provinces enjoying every benefit for last 5 years & yet crying foul on legal matters as if its the most grieved party and is doing all this for people of Pakistan. Indeed they are not ignorant of possible PPP-MUSH deal too & know very well for whom all this drama was/is being staged. The nation cannot expect every judge to act with the bravery & nerves like CJP when its about taking on the might of establishment. How many Iftikhar Chaudhries we had before 9 March? One has to understand that a judge only answers the questions raised & cannot go beyond request. The SC judges ever since Justice Munirs infamous verdict had to bear good deal of cursing & recent decisions indicate they tried to make that a history but what if their righteousness is washed away between deals. Why would they take on a powerful establishment only to find that a corrupt leader bargained to allow a dictator what was legally not allowed at first place & rejected by a SC judge?. The power to amend constitution is nothing less than a magic stick. Its a mother and child at the same time. Because parliamentary form of governance only counts heads, unlike Shariah where weight also matters, a parliament full of fools can cross any limit of wrongness & yet it will be correct technically. This dilemma is not hidden from a SC judge. The MMA were the best of fools when they signed the 17th amendment and guess who is bearing the burden of all those sins now?, the SC. Its natural that one party will be happy with a verdict and other may accuse SC of dishonesty. Such a heavy price for no guilt of Supreme court.

In commenting on judges we forget that they are, after all humans and are not devoid of external influences, are not some perfectly ordered machines programmed in a legal syntax to act precisely according to law in book. This is very much true in our country where we all know public opinion about lower echelons of judiciary who later reach SC, with experience. But experience never means credibility or honesty. Its only a numerical value. In our quest for Justice we have taken it for granted that a SC judge should also keep an eye on society as a whole, which is absolutely wrong. e.g A judge cannot do policing .A judge only gives verdict, interpret constitution & provide relief to anyone who knocks at his door.

Our judiciary however brave wont opt head-on collision with Army or establishment. Not for now at least. Such a scenario will be just another pretext for Musharraf to declare Martial law, bring a new PCO. Why a judge risk himself when his verdict could be washed away by the likes of Fazl-ur-Rehman & Benazir whose commitment to democracy, by their record, is very poor.

Also technically, it may well be that the lawyers from Qazis side havent done their home work. From their statements appearing in papers its evident that beside legalities there is a hint of some political leaning. On few occasions the honorable judges had to interrupt & ask them to argue on points related to case. Furious statements outside court against any possible verdict in governments favour are not helping either.

The judge knows how incompetent this government is & who calls the shots but in a worst case scenario it may well come down to Army establishment vs. Judiciary. One judge commented that the parliament is a Lame duck. How can they transform a lame duck into a Lion. Political parties are engaged in deals while the people of Pakistan are running from pillar to post for flour. If political parties accuse a judge on his sincerity for this its a different matter but such statements indicate a behavior in crisis among groups (MMA, PPP, PML, Lawyers, Judges, Gov.) where every group wants to benefit without taking responsibility. This is exactly the reason why political parties are also divided on the issue of resignations with Fazl-ur-Rehman & PPP least willing to join any prospects of a long struggle. They want their share now & see opportunity coming. In the long run, a judge has nothing to loose by giving a judgment in favor of government.

This all, in no way justifies that a judge is allowed to be influenced but it only tries to take a pragmatic approach in a country where upright honesty, principle & professionalism is difficult to be found, even if argument is related to a respectable institution like Judiciary with history standing firmly at our side. It was this reason I had used the word “a renovated judiciary earlier as I guess its nearly impossible for a Judge to change his behaviour at this stage & age of life. A miracle is required to turn a dishonest judge into an honest and brave one from as an out come of events like March 9. This argument bears much weight in a country where according to Transparency International; Judiciary is considered 3rd most corrupt institution by public.

[Image : SC Paksitan]


6 responses to “Inside the mind of a Supreme Court Judge”

  1. nota Avatar

    Disgusted!!! Court rules 6-3 in favor of Mush

  2. hmm Avatar

    Akree Mukka hamara hee hogaa: MUSH ???


    and ppl thought they would get justice….

  3. shobz Avatar

    i cant do anything but laugh. the thing is that i have stopped caring. they are all crooks at the end of the day. the so called judiciary voted in favor of musshy. well we all know that everyone has a price. if the judiciary is so independent then i guess pigs also fly and the moon is made of green cheese.

  4. The Pakistani Spectator Avatar

    All is not lost really. Courts have sent a clear message to populace to wake up and not entirely lean upon courts. To change the things as they are, people have to come out on the roads. SC cant spoon feed them.

  5. chacha Avatar


    The decision of Supreme Court dated 31st of July 2009 as projected by media is the biggest Fraud in Judicial History of Pakistan when it says that PCO judges have been sent home. PCO Judges are still working and non PCO judges have been sacked, packed and sent home. The beneficiaries of the recent judgment are Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal, Mr. Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, Mr. Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday Mr. Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Mr. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani etc. All these judges violated the constitutional oath and took fresh oath under the PCO of General Musharaf after Pakistan army ousted Nawaz Sharif in October of 1999.

    The other set of PCO judges are Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar and Justice Javed Buttar etc. including other judges in High Courts who took oath under the PCO on 3rd of November 1999. All of them are judges even today and are still continuing.

    Interestingly the judges who have been sent home had never taken oath under any PCO. Most of these Judges were not even appointed in General Musharaf’s period. Infact they were appointed after the restoration of democracy in the country. The name of these judges who took oath under the constitution are as under:-

    1) Mr. Justice Pervez Ali Chawla

    1) Mr. Justice Habib Ullah Shakir

    2) Mr. Justice Nazir Ahmed Ghazi

    3) Mr. Justice Abdul Sattar Goraya

    4) Mr. Justice Syed Ihtasham Qadir Shah

    5) Justice Ms. Jamila Jahanoor Aslam

    6) Mr. Justice Mahmood Akhtar Khan

    7) Mr. Justice Jamshed Rahmat Ullah

    Mr. Justice Pervez Inayat Malik

    9) Mr. Justice Arshad Mahmood

    10) Mr. Justice Irfan Qadir

    11) Mr. Justice Syed Zulfiqar Ali Bukhari

    12) Mr. Justice Ch. Naeem Masood

    13) Mr. Justice Anwar-ul-Haq Pannu

    14) Mr. Justice Muhammad Shafqat Khan Abbasi

    15) Mr. Justice Imtiaz Rasheed Siddiqui

    16) Mr. Justice Bin Yamin

    17) Mr. Justice Khalid Ali Z. Qazi

    18) Mr. Justice Salman Ansari

    19) Mr. Justice Abdul Rehman Farooq Pirzada

    20) Mr. Justice Abdul Rasheed Klwar

    21) Mr. Justice Zafar Ahmed Khan Sherwani

    22) Mr. Justice Syed Mehmood Alam Rizvi

    23) Justice Ms. Soofia Latif

    24) Mr. Justice Maqbool Ahmed Awan

    25) Mr. Justice Safdar Ahi Bhutto

    26) Mr. Justice Moharram G. Baloch

    27) Mr. Justice Malik Muhammad Aqil

    28) Mr. Justice Syed Shafaqat Ali Shah Masoomi

    29) Mr. Justice Muhammad Iqbal Mahar

    30) Mr. Justice Khadim Hussain M. Sheikh

    31) Mr. Justice Muhammad Ismail Bhutto

    32) Mr. Justice Arshad Siraj Memon

    33) Mr. Justice Aamir Raza Naqvi

    34) Mr. Justice Muhammad Karim Khan Agha

    35) Mr. Justice Salman Talibuddin

    36) Mr. Justice Shaji Rehman Khan

    37) Mr. Justice Ghulam Mohayuddin Malik

    38) Mr. Justice Ziauddin Khattak

    39) Mr. Justice Syed Mussaddiq Hussain Gilani

    40) Mr. Justice Syed Yahya Zahid Gilani

    41) Mr. Justice Muhammad Alam Khan

    42) Justice Mazhar Hussain Minhas

    43) Justice Muhammad Ashraf Bhatti

    44) Justice Rana Zahid Mehmood

    45) Justice Kazim Ali Malik

    46) Justice Hafiz Tariq Nasim

    47) Justice Khalil Ahmad

    48) Justice MA Zafar

    49) Justice Malik Saeed Ejaz

    50) Justice Syed Shaheen Masud Rizvi

    51) Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi

    52) Justice Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon.

    The aforesaid 52 judges have never ever taken oath under the PCO. They have been ousted. The nation is celebrating and all the PCO judges are still continuing as judges. In short the fight between post November 3 PCO judges and post October 12 PCO judges has resulted in ouster of judges who took oath only under the Constitution of Pakistan and never ever under the PCO. The media, PML[N], the lawyers and other political forces are mixed up and are rejoicing the ouster of constitutionally appointed judges and PPP seems ignorant of this fact. Such things can only happen in Pakistan. After General Musharraf dislodged Nawaz’s government on 12th October 1999, Iftikhar Chaudhry in order to save his job took oath under the PCO. However when he lost his job on 3rd of November 2007 he condemned the PCO. Lets stop having double standards. All PCO judges should be removed regardless of the fact whether they took oath under the PCO before 2nd of November 2007 or thereafter. The irony is that PCO judges have removed those judges who took oath only under the constitution and never under any PCO.

  6. chacha Avatar

    Further adding to this discussion

    All PCO judges are still doing work, and Judges of Lahore high court , who were appointed by Syed Zahid Hussain ( now Supreme Court Judge) appointed by CJ Iftikhar Hussain, were sent home, and their hiring was termed as illegal.

    Poor nation doesnt know that PCO judges are still in courts while Non PCO judges were ceased to work …