Today I have renewed faith in the Judiciary
It was a special day. I got up with a feeling of great excitement. Something very significant was taking place and I had cleared up my morning schedule to be a part of this important moment. An old school friend, whom I have known for many years, was taking oath of office as a Judge of the Sindh High Court. Rukhsana Ahmed, after putting in 15 hard years as a lawyer in the High Court, was to become Justice Rukhsana Ahmed.
Over the years we had seen her put in hours, days and months of blood, sweat and tears into her professional work. There was no case that was too small or too insignificant. It didn’t matter whether it was a poor person for whom she was handling the case gratis or a corporation that was paying her to fight on their behalf, justice was what she strived for even if it meant burning the midnight oil. It wasn’t always easy – in fact it was hardly ever easy – but she toiled, she gave it her 100%, and yesterday she was rewarded for the untiring years of effort that she has put into her profession.
There was no way that Afia and I, who are lucky enough to be counted amongst her oldest friends, were going to miss sharing this special moment in her life with her. We knew there would be limited seating and that we may not be allowed in to view the oath-taking but we were not giving up without even trying. And if they didn’t allow us in, we were going to wait outside to be one of the first to congratulate her on her achievement and her appointment. So I left home at 7.30 am, picked up Afia at 8:15 am before joining Rukhsana and her family at their home. From there we drove in 3 cars to the High Court.
One could sense that Rukhsana was tense. It was a big day for her. She knew the seriousness and somber nature of the job that she was going to be taking on, the great responsibility that the office of Justice of the High Court brought with it. She hoped that she would measure up to the position (of which we had no doubt).
It was also an emotional day for her. This was something she had strived for all her life, something she had dreamt of since joining the legal profession, a day that would have meant a lot to her dear belated mother. How extremely proud she would have been. Aunty always had great faith in her daughter.
We reached the High Court on time and were heralded into the Judges Chambers – fortunately some seats had been arranged for the family (Afia and I consider ourselves as part of Rukhsana’s extended family). I had taken my flip video and iPhone 3Gs with me so that I could take photographs and record the oath taking.
Proceedings started on time with the recitation from the Holy Quran. Then the Registrar, with the permission of the Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court, announced the name of the ten judges who were taking oath that day. This was followed by the Chief Justice of the High Court administering the oath. It was all very somber, very professionally conducted. They took an oath to protect the Constitution, to ensure that justice was carried out in all cases brought before them. The weight of each word must have weighed heavily on each judge as they uttered it. This was like no other job. It carried with it the power to mete out justice – to ensure that the guilty were punished and that the rights of the innocent were protected.
As we listened, we realized how far our friend had come, how much she had achieved and the position of responsibility she was taking on. My heart filled with pride and joy. I felt privileged to be a part of this special moment, to be able to share it with her and to show her that she had our love and our respect.
Rukhsana has always been a compassionate, fair and loving human being. Her only failing ever has been that she gives too much of herself to family, friends and even colleagues. You only have to pick up the phone and mention that you have a problem and she will drive miles at any time of the day or night to help you, to be there for you, to provide the support that you need. She is also a person of great integrity and has an immense sense of justice. It therefore renews my faith in the Pakistan Judiciary to know that a person of her calibre and her integrity has been appointed a Judge of the High Court based plainly on her capability and the years of work she has put in. I know that the Judiciary will be stronger with her being a part of it and that she will spare no effort in ensuring that justice is done.
Justice Rukhsana Ahmed has been a friend for decades. She has always made us feel as if we were great achievers but as we stood there today watching her take oath of office, we realized how little we had achieved and how far she had come. Good luck my friend. You deserve the respect that this country has given you. We know you will do your best and although I am told that Judges don’t have fan clubs, like it or not, you are stuck with a fan club of many admirers who share your happiness today and take pride in your achievements.
Justice Rukhsana Ahmed taking oath of office:
Justice Rukhsana Ahmed being greeted by family and friends after taking oath: