By Akhtar Malik : 11 December 2013
Today is the last day of CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in his office. The CJ has many good actions to his credit. The person really changed the profile of judiciary and made it an institution that could make its weight felt. Judicial activism remained the hallmark of his stint in office. He took many suo motto notices and kept the sitting governments on their toes. His efforts to safeguard the human rights as done in the case of missing persons are commendable. His period will always be remembered as historical milestone in the freedom and independence of judiciary. Before IMC the judiciary was never the same as we see it now.
However the CJ made himself as controversial as well. He was never seen as a totally impartial judge as his tilt towards MNS remained visible till end. He failed to revamp the lower judiciary and could not compel the governments to enforce reforms for quick and better dispensation of justice- a dream of poor people of this country. He was seen as a soft judge for the terrorists as not a single one was punished during his tenure. He could not rise to the stature of a true Islamic judge when the question of corrupt practices of his son Arsalan came up.
The biggest damage that was done to Pakistan was his apathy towards notorious elections 2013. On this issue he even went against his own axioms. He let the unconstitutional ECP function to the detriment of Pakistan. I changed my opinion about IM when he misbehaved with and ridiculed DR. Tahir ul Qadri who went to SC to seek constitutional relief in the case of ECP. During his tenure the biggest rigging in elections was done and he kept quiet. He didn’t take suo motto notice on the rigging rather didn’t even listened to hundreds of petitions filed with SC. As a result of rigged a political dispensation of the worst order was imposed on Pakistan which is quickly taking the country to the brink of economic disaster.
It is yet premature to say whether the future judiciary will be a different one but I earnestly wish that the future judiciary should not only maintain its hard earned independence but should also complete the unfinished agenda of IM for providing quick justice on the doorsteps. But a lot will depend on how the sitting government would take the judiciary. An independent and impartial judiciary is vital for democracy, hence no efforts should be made by the government to clip the powers of judiciary. A weak judiciary will be a sign of danger for the survival of democracy also. This point is normally not understood and liked by the ruling elite.