Judicial Murder

Democracy is the best revenge. The way this slogan is raised by the leadership and followers of the Pakistan People’s Party always gave me chills. Because I for one had believed that yes, it is indeed the truth and nothing but the truth. As a student of law, having studied “equity will not suffer a wrong without a remedy”. These two statements albeit principles basically contemplate each other for me. Any practitioner of law would in all fairness side with the law and believe in the upholding of the principles of the rule of law. As a humble student and practitioner of law, over my short career spanning almost a decade I have learned, preached, taught, and practiced the ideals of rule of law. For without the guarantee that it’s the law that shall prevail, no society can prosper.

Keeping in view the ideals in mind, one if cannot call a spade a spade, would at least refrain from trying to project a wrong as a right and thus don’t side with the evil. This is not just a moral, ethical and legal duty but also stems from religious obligations as well. And as such it is a bounden duty to steer clear from wrongs. The events over the past one month in Pakistan, wherein a No Confidence Motion was brought by the opposition against Prime Minister Imran Khan and all the steps that followed the said motion for all intents and purposes lay bare the claims of a flourishing democracy. Depending on which side you are on, horse trading or conscience awakening was at play. Friends and allies became enemies, whereas enemies remain what they were. Egos were let go by some and worshiped by others. Amidst this whole fiasco came the eventful day of April 03, 2022. When the Deputy Speaker through a ruling dismissed the resolution of No Confidence. Same day on a Sunday “which is a holiday per the judicial calendar”, the Honorable Supreme Court convenes and takes a Suo Moto which per the order sheet of the day was “as a result of various honorable judges approaching the Honorable Chief Justice to take action”. I would like to add that one day before this Suo Moto action, a petition in respect of the “alleged letter” was being returned by the Registrar of the Supreme Court terming it in violation of Article 69. The hearing on the Suo Moto which however took place over five days finally concluded on Friday, April 07, 2022 and the ruling of the Deputy Speaker was set aside. So were all the steps that followed the said ruling. And the honorable court directed to have the session of the assembly convene on April 09, 2022 at 10:30am. The judgment was lauded by all and sundry for burying the “doctrine of necessity”. People like me who are just average students of law also were part of the bandwagon who supported the judgment and sought it a great leap forward in the constitutional democracy of our country. The five honorable judges had for all intents and purposes vindicated the judicial organ in general and the institution of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in particular.   

It seemed like the old days of judicial murders are finally behind us and we have finally crossed the judicial independence threshold. However, this thought and belief turned out to be very short lived, it lasted hardly 48 hours. Because the events that unfolded on April 09, 2022 very aptly describes the sorry state of affairs in the land of the pure. If you are mighty and powerful, courts will open in the middle of the night to call upon secretaries, entertain petitions, Commissions will open up to give certain “impressions”. Journalists will start vying as to what “orders” will be passed and who will be arrested. All of this happened within the span of a few hours. And all of it gave the ordinary Pakistani a very clear message that you don’t matter, courts cannot open for you on Saturday but will open on Sunday or in the middle of the night for important people. This isn’t the first time that it has happened. Previously for a former Prime Minister courts were opened on Saturday. I do not call bad or wrong the opening of courts on a holiday but why have it selective? There are matters of life and liberty pending before courts, I recall a news story that a person namely Mazhar Hussain was acquitted by the Honorable Supreme Court while he had died in prison two years prior to the hearing. The said exoneration came after 19years of him being charged of murder. Has anyone been held liable for it? Can anyone be held liable for this? The answer is a no. Because Mazhar Hussain “doesn’t matter”. Prime Minister Imran Khan matters, opposition parties matter. COAS matters. But ordinary citizens of Pakistan don’t matter. 

By no means can the actions of the Deputy Speaker be condoned for what happened on April 03, 2022. The actions were wrong. However last night the events that unfolded and the way Supreme Court of Pakistan, Election Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad High Court were opened in the middle of the night, most certainly would always leave a question mark over the April 7th verdict of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. And to add cherry on top of it, the Review Petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf against the April 07 verdict was apparently and reportedly not “entertained” because it was filed after the court hours. The verdict which was a judicial miracle and a beacon of hope for the believers in Constitutional Democracy in all honesty not by any means now seem to be a judicial triumph. And like always it would take a lot of doing to dispel that the notion of some shade of interference was never there to begin with. Judicial murders are never forgotten but the triumphs are lost very quickly in the shades of history with a small spec of doubt.

Ali Gohar Durrani
Advocate High Court (s)
Senior Partner


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