Originally Published at DAWN
RECENTLY an eminent Journalist, speaking on a private TV talk show, talked about Nov 3, 2007 short order by seven honourable judges of the Supreme Court, declaring the PCO illegal and barring all judges of the superior courts from taking any oath under the PCO.
He also talked about a book written by a famous and well-respected lawyer, Munir Malik. In that book, as mentioned by the journalist, Mr Malik discussed the short order as shown to him by another respected and eminent retired judge, Tariq Mahmood.
According to Mr Malik, the short order that he saw had no signature of the judges. Both Munir Malik and Tariq Mahmood are people of highest degree of honesty and integrity. They, along with many others, spearheaded the movement to restore the judiciary. The whole nation is rightly indebted to them.
Dawn reported this short order in its issue of 4-11-2007. Perusal of this Dawn report also reveals something else.
To quote Dawn: “A constitutional expert, who wished not to be named, said the oath-taking of the new chief justice was illegal because the PCO was struck down the moment it was issued.
More than seven judges of the Supreme Court were required to reverse the restraining order, he said, adding that to the best of his knowledge only four judges were available in the capital till late Saturday night.”
The journalist in the talk show discussed at length a few other important and hair-raising anomalies. He discussed about a judge who put the date along with his signature on the order as 5-11-2007, not 3-11-2007. He also mentioned that, in contrast to the usual practice, the names and the signatures of the judges were not in a descending order, according to their seniority. Then some judges had their names written in both English and Urdu.
The present judiciary has made the whole nation very proud. Their hard work and quest for justice would be written in golden letters. Historians would remember them as judges who stand out from so many others in this country.
Very unfortunately, and I say so with utmost respect, our experience of the past judiciary has many disturbing episodes. They have killed a prime minister through judicial murder, sentenced another prime minister to life imprisonment, welcomed and legalised all martial laws along with permission and authority to change, amend, disfigure and mutilate the Constitution.
Except once, they have always justified the illegal and arbitrary use of Article 58, (2, b). Every few years there is a landmark judgment, throwing out and dismantling the past landmark judgment.
Very serious questions were raised in that TV talk show. May I suggest that the National Assembly, representing the 170 million Pakistanis, form a national commission, comprising former judges of the superior judiciary and famous members of civil society, to look into and investigate the whole matter?
This is necessary to remove any possible slur from the names of otherwise good, honorable and respected people.