Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Judicial vs Political Activism

Current politicians vs judiciary crisis of Pakistan has attracted extensive coverage in the local media. The decisions of the superior judiciary also make headlines in some foreign outlets too owing to their far reaching consequences. What I want to discuss is the validity of the criticism the apex court is being hurled at for issuing show cause notice to the nascent prime minister. While the court has made its position clear by passing the verdict in Mr Gillani's case, that a failure to abide by its previous orders will be deemed as crime, it is totally baseless to expect them to take a different line on the very issue in a space of few weeks. How can they forgive the current PM for not doing something that they punished the ex-PM for. It seems as the politicians are themselves showing the red cape to the judges in order to fix the blame of their failure on other institutions. This is similar to the fact that a bill for legislation against terrorism lies forgotten in the government's pocket while it continues to blame courts for setting the terrorists free. The contempt of court amendment and the dual nationality amendments are hurried through the process but little attention is paid to the most wanted affaires. 

Criticism should be aimed at the political activism that is testing court's patience by flouting its orders. Pro-democracy institutions and personalities showing their dissatisfaction with the current proceedings must remember that the apex court has unchallengable authority to interpret the institution as well as to revisit any legislation passed by the parliment worldwide. The danger associated the inevitable judgement is not that democracy will be derailed. Rather, it will only bring a political change and will strengthen the rule of law in the country if it is follwed in letter and spirit. Government has to abide by the court's orders and interpretations given whatever the situation. And if someone is going to challenge that, it is him who is endangering the system and not court. The CJ has openly voiced his stance on Bangladesh model or army intervention. Let us now stand by the constitution and voice to bring an end to the political activism which is bringing real danger to the country's stability.

Let us make our voice heard and our concern noted about the potential dangers of defying court's orders by the politicians. As Thomas Paine put it, "It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government". We need to act before its too late.

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