Cause for celebration?
While I agree that the setting aside of the Presidential Reference through a Supreme Court decision indeed augurs well for the strength of the Judiciary of this country, I wonder if people have not got too carried away at what this means for the common person in Pakistan. Okay so the Judiciary has finally stood up for itself – bully for them! May I ask when they have ever stood up for the normal citizen of this country? When have they spent as much time and money on highlighting issues that affect the average person in Pakistan?
Forget what successive governments have gotten away with. What about looking within their own ranks? Is the judicial system in this country something we can be proud of? Are our courts really the kind of places where justice is dispensed?
If anyone has had the misfortune of having to go through our legal system – whether it be to defend oneself or to have property transferred or for any other reason, it becomes quite obvious that justice is bought and sold in the corridors of our exalted courts. From the junior-most employees to the highest persons in the heirarchy, money exchanges hands and deals are made.
I am, under no circumstances, suggesting that all judges and lawyers are corrupt. That would certainly not be the truth. But I have seen for myself that even lawyers with a great deal of personal integrity have to indulge in giving out “tea money” or greasing the hands of corrupt officials and/or their underlings in order to move their cases forward through the system.
Over the past few months the media and the legal community have spent a lot of time on the Chief Justice. The CJ has toured the country, spoken at various events, visited people in hospital, flood-ridden areas, etc – may I ask if he ever did any of this prior to the Presidential reference? Why did we never hear of any of his kind and good deeds prior to that date?Is he a good human being or were all these actions politically motivated?
Newspapers and television channels tell us that this is only the beginning of the movement. So should we look forward to more strikes, more protest days, more photos of the CJ plastered everywhere? Or can we move on and address some of the moral issues that affect the majority of Pakistanis in this country – health, illiteracy, poverty, bad infrastructure, unsafe drinking water, unemployment, violence against women and children, lack of security and public transport? Or are these things not as important?
I know I will probably be accused of not understanding the broader vision, the larger impact of the results of this case. Believe me I do understand it. However, I still strongly believe that there will only be a real cause for celebration in this country when the above issues are seriously tackled, when the citizens of this country can expect to be treated fairly in the corridors of justice and when legal cases are moved forward expediciously, judiciously and fairly, so that innocent people are not locked up behind bars waiting for their cases to be heard. Yes then, and only then, will I celebrate.
May I suggest that, in the meantime, the lawyers and judges who are partying out there on the streets of our major cities, get back to work and clear out some of those long-pending cases?
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