Lawyers have emerged as a great force in Pakistan who carries weight in the future law making and day to day running of the judiciary as well as executive in the country. Pakistan’s short history is full of lawyer’s contributions and in particular judges who never bow before a dictator to take oath under any PCO and preferred to go home honourably.
In any adversarial system, there is a lawyer for and against and a judge hears the case, decides on facts and law giving confidence to both parties on the ‘judgement’ he is about to give on its merits. On the day, a judge has to dispense justice, and of course justice needs to be seen to be done, and if judgement is known in advance, it does not meet the norms of justice. Recent events in Pakistan post liberation of judiciary has given an impression as if lawyers have a carte blanche and as if they are not willing to tolerate the other side view, I hope I am wrong. That is, and it will be dangerous for the promotion of tolerance, rule of law and good governance leading to true democracy as there is always the other side view and the story.
I have picked up two issues where there is a risk of miscarriage of justice and potential threat of the other party loosing chance of ever having a fair trial. In the case of 4 May 2007 lawyers procession in Sahiwal, in Punjab, which was intercepted by Police on orders of its superiors. A case has been registered against district police officer and others, but open alarming statements are being made by top judicial leadership for accelerating the process by doing a quick justice with warnings that someone else will do the job suo moto. No lawyer is willing to represent the said officer in the whole of District Multan before Anti terrorist court judge, which is an undesirable development for the profession as any accused is ‘innocent until proven guilty.