What happened to be a complete but expected twist in the contempt proceedings against the Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani was when he addressed the Court in his 80 odd pages reply that he cannot submit to the bench, as the former has no trust in the later, i.e. the bench of the supreme court. To many this may be a surprise but to any student of law in general and of the constitutional and political history of Pakistan in particular, it’s not that an unusual thing in the land of the Pure. It’s something which is completely inherent in the politics of Pakistan. The story starts with the most pathetic judgment in the history of Pakistan wherein the then Federal Court headed by Chief Justice Munir gave a judgment in the Federation Vs. Maulvi Tameez uddin Khan case which proved to be the start of an unstoppable series of violation of the honor and dignity of the courts by the very hands of the Judges of the courts, with a paralyzed Governor General who had plans to make Pakistan a Monarchy, and assuming the throne for himself, was given over-ridding powers by the court. The Dosso case was another land mark in the judicial history where the Judges humiliated themselves as well as added power to the hands of a military dictator in the shape of Ayub, the same went along, until the Asma Jillani case, wherein for the very first time the apex court decided on principles of law and tried to hold to the norms of honor and of dignity of the court.
this joy for the people of Pakistan however lasted for a very short span of time, As Bhutto who was the architect of the 1973 constitution, wanted to establish his overall control over the state and in order to do so, he brought in the third amendment to the constitution to victimize his political opponents, and in order for the opponents not to have the advantage of an independent judiciary he clipped the wings of the judiciary by the introduction of the 4th constitutional amendment, by virtue of which he curtailed the jurisdiction and powers of the Judiciary and thus clipping them of there wings. It is also important to mention that though Bhutto’s PPP had a majority in parliament these amendments were passed in such a manner which was completely undemocratic, with the sergeant at arms physically throwing the opposition members out of the parliament. All this was aimed at making everyone at the very mercy of Bhutto, who had assumed powers constitutionally but had become a dictator in the guise of democracy, not tolerating any opposition, these amendments led to the National Awami Party being banned in Pakistan. Bhutto however didn’t stopped her, he continued by bringing in the 5th amendment by which he empowered the Federal Government to transfer a judge of the High Court of one province to another, without the consent of not only the judge concerned but also the Chief Justice of the Court concerned was also being by-passed. All for Bhutto’s personal settling of scores with his rivals, be it a journalist, a politician or any person from any walk of life, which Bhutto thought of as a threat.
The foundation being set by Bhutto, Zia assumes control, and humiliates judiciary by using the completely clipping them of there powers, he would remove anyone he liked, and give oath to anyone whom he favored, the judiciary was thrown into the gallows and it rose only when the Military Dictator’s cap was buried in the courtyard of Faisal Mosque.
The end of marshal law was considered a new beginning, but, it proved a fatal misperception, as Benazir Bhutto in her second tenure as the Prime Minister started such a mass scale judicial crisis that sees no example in history. It starts with the appointment of Justice Sajjad as the Chief Justice of Pakistan, who was junior to 3 judges at that time, only for the reason that Justice Sajjad had given a dissenting opinion in the Benazir Bhutto Vs Federation of Pakistan case., and so the story starts, massive appointments were being made in the superior judiciary completely on political basis, with no consideration of merit, any judge who was find a hurdle was being shifted as a judge to another high court or as an acting CJ of High court. There were such shameful appointments made that in some cases the judges had openly said they had not seen the high court before the appointment.
All this just to have the judiciary under her control, was what Benazir Bhutto wanted, and at the cost of denying Justice to the people, that didn’t mattered to her.
The same story was taken over by Nawaz Sharif government which went to the extent of going on a complete offensive so much so that the Supreme Court was being stormed by the party workers of PML-N in a contempt case against the then PM Nawaz Sharif.
what happened in the Musharraf era was suppose to be a wake-up call for everyone assuming power, for it was the judiciary which started the eye opening decisions against the state in favour of the Public at large under the Cj Iftikhar Chaudry. They for the very first time installed the faith of the people in a Government Institution, and it was due to the Judiciary Musharraf had to lose power.
However PPP continues the old way on the highway, first by refusing to reinstate the de-jure Cj on the Dogar led court. The nation comes out for a nation wide long march resulting in the restoration of the judiciary, and the opeing of cases against the PPP leadership, but rather than learning from the past, and thinking for the interest of Pakistan, personal interest prevailed, and so the Humiliation of Judiaicary once again by PPP starts, be it the NRO case or the NRO implementation case, the PPP government has done all it could to make mockery of the Apex court. The contempt proceedings against the PM with respect to the NRO implementation case, had added the last nail in the coffin of any hopes of the people from the PPP government’s respect for the Judiciary. And it seems from the reply submitted by the PM’s Counsel that “all you judges do whatever you wish to, but I would save my president’s skin”. With the PM seeking Justice with his own terms, it seems we may yet again be embracing another judicial crisis.