It was quite shocking reading the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the contempt case against Prime Minister of Pakistan at the end of which there was a poetic and emotional moral speech like piece. It was from one of the judges from the bench that was hearing and decided the case. A judge, obviously, needs not be an emotional lecturer rather a judge ought to be free of emotions and a law adjudicator. If one goes trough the extra note of the judge, it becomes evident that a moral speech is attempted to appeal to the emotions of the people.
Although, I am not a lawyer, but to some extent, know the ABC of law and also the implications of the court decisions, and since the decision once delivered is a public property, I have every right to discuss it.
Punishments are meant to reform not to disgrace and condemn only, and the poetic piece in the judgment clearly makes mockery of the elected and representative leadership of this nation. It would have been more appropriate had the decision consisted of only reasoning of law instead of supplementing it with some emotional poetic lecture.
Before I try to make a future plan based on morality and rule of law-as the extra note stands for- let us first go back to the beginning of the issue.
The current issue can be traced back to the court order in NRO case-which needed the PM or executive to right a letter to the Swiss authorities so that cases against the president of Islamic Republic of Pakistan could be reopened- which the PM or executive refused-for obvious reasons- to comply with. The court charged and convicted PM with contempt and issued the detailed judgment.
As the judgment preaches morality, let us make our own perspective of morality and ask few questions from ourselves. If rule of law- equality before law- is to be followed, then what about the judges who took oath under the first PCO of Musharraf? If we are ready to forgive them for their crime–standing by a dictator and giving him constitution amending power—in order to let them reform themselves, why can’t we do that with the elected president? If we are ready to forgive some one in a crime committed before the eyes of the whole nation, why we can’t in a crime which is yet to be proven?
If Pakistan is to run under the principle of morality–as the poetic spot of judgment seems to be preaching- the rule of law then demands either of the following options exercised.
The first option is that Prime Minister shall leave the office-morally or legally- but before doing that he should press his parliamentary majority to declare the first PCO of Musharraf and its subsequent endorsement by judiciary and parliament as unconstitutional. So that no one would stand by dictators and take oath under PCO in future and those who have already done can be sent home.
The second option would be that we forgive all for their wrongdoings they have once done. We shall forgive judges for taking oath under PCO and giving the power of amending constitution to a dictator. We shall forgive Musharraf for subverting constitution. We shall forgive Nawaz Sharif for leaving Pakistan in a state of chaos and helplessness and fleeing the bars through secret talks and doors. However, we shall also forgive Mr. President for his alleged crime and PM for contempt.
These options, though, may sound unrealistic and emotional but there is no way out either. If morality is the standard and rule of law the rule then all shall be treated on equality basis. We should not pick some people to be punished and some to be spared. For those punished selectively will be right in claiming martyrdom through punishment.
“With an apology to Khalil Gibran”, I would like to end my moral reasoning by adding his poem in my own words.
Pity the nation that punishes judges for taking oath under PCO on Monday.
And let spare others who have done it just on Sunday.
Pity the nation where judgments are supplemented with moral speeches and poetry.
Not solely by legal codes and law commentary.
Pity the nation where law adjudicators seek support in people’s emotions.
Not in sanctioned laws and constitutions.
Pity the nation who’s elected President is forced to face cases and humiliation outside.
However, the violator of constitution is obliged to play with the destiny of the people inside.
Pity the nation where the decisions of court tell that the offender wanted to become, at its hands, a martyr.
Rather than, allowing the law to speak ignoring offender’s desire.
The author of this article can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org