Mistakes are past, not present: CJP
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Saturday vowed to protect the democratic setup and rejected the accusation that judiciary is acting as ‘part of plan’. “We are [here] only due to democracy,” he noted. “Let me assure you from the core of my heart that democracy will never be derailed in the country”, said the chief justice who was addressing the National Judicial Policy making Committee (NJPC). The meeting was convened to review the performance of judiciary was attended by the judges belonging to special tribunals and administrative courts, Chief Justice of Federal Shariat Court and the high courts’ chief justices.
Referring to some mistakes which the judiciary had made in the past, the chief justice promised not to repeat the same and said in order to move forward, the institution would have to hold itself accountable as well. Chief Justice Saqib assured the gathering that democracy would never be derailed. "The day that will happen, I will not be here. That’s my promise,” he said and added the judiciary and the courts did not pose any threat to democracy.
In an apparent response to ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent accusations of judicial complicity in the past coups, the chief justice said the Doctrine of Necessity has been buried. “I will not be staying as Chief Justice of Pakistan if democracy is ever derailed in the country,” the chief justice said, adding the judiciary is being accused of being a part of an anti-democracy campaign, but the judges must not come under any pressure. He said the judiciary is not part of any ‘planning’ and “we will not let anyone suffer injustice”.
The chief justice reiterated that the judiciary is working independently. “Forget about those people who think that some kind of planning is going on here. Your judiciary is not only independent outwards but inwards as well. Every single judge of mine is independent. There is no in-house pressure on anyone. This is the culture we have developed," he added.
He said the judiciary did not pose any threat to democracy. "There is some kind of rhetoric and impression being given that there is a threat to democracy or we have become part of it. We are not part of it. We will never be part of it. We have buried the 'Doctrine of Necessity' in the Sindh High Court Bar Association case and there cannot be a better judgement in the history of Pakistan," the top judge added.
He said the Constitution is the supreme document of any country. “Parliament has the authority to make laws and our job is to uphold the sanctity of the law,” said the chief justice. He called upon the judges to respect their legal profession with passion instead of considering it a mere job. The chief justice said they are the highest paid public servants in the country, so it should be their obligation to deliver for the well being of the people. “Being an important pillar of the state, we must ensure that justice is served as quickly as possible,” he stressed.
The chief justice, referring to exercising jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and defending his suo motu notices, claimed that he had never tried to exceed his authority. “The only reason behind taking a suo moto notice of certain issues is to ensure the basic rights of the citizens are protected,” he argued and asked the judges to never let any emotion influence their verdicts. “As the judiciary is independent, its verdicts should also be independent,” the CJP maintained, adding although the judiciary is facing numerous challenges, however, everyone in the legal profession should do the best he could in the given circumstances. He said judiciary is the most important pillar of the state. “If this pillar does not perform then the state will have to face imbalances,” he added.
The chief justice urged the judges to join his campaign of justice. “I bow my head to you to become part of my campaign and start delivering justice. We have to enforce the fundamental rights of the people. This is our responsibility,” he urged.