HUNDREDS and thousands of people did not end up descending upon the Supreme Court. There were no refusals to accept the court’s charges against the party chief or attempts to significantly delay the hearing of the case. The final moves in the contempt of court case against MQM chief Altaf Hussain — an unconditional apology, and its immediate acceptance by the Supreme Court — were the right, least disruptive ones that could have been made. After a fair bit of bluster following the contempt of court notice, cooler heads thankfully prevailed, whether through a combination of political strategising or lower temperatures — welcome news at a time when political drama and its potential effect on elections already has the country on tenterhooks. Even better would have been to avoid the initial protests altogether; the rallies, shutdown in Karachi and public outrage of party leaders when the contempt notice was issued achieved little other than raising the general level of tension in the country.

Meanwhile, the idiosyncrasies of the Supreme Court’s application of contempt of court became a little more noticeable. Mr Hussain’s case and the acceptance of his apology were a reminder that former law minister Babar Awan’s apology has been submitted months ago but hasn’t yet been accepted, and that firebrand senator Faisal Raza Abidi has yet to be charged with the offence. And every new contempt of court charge also raises the question of how to distinguish between legitimate criticism of the Supreme Court judgments and attacks that are unwarranted or disrespectful. As contempt of court stand-offs between the current judiciary and politicians continue to crop up, it’s clear that, at the cost of their own time and energy and our peace of mind, neither camp has been able to figure out where to draw the line.

More From This Section

More than money needed

IF it weren’t for the history and the present context, it would have been a grand announcement. Balochistan, Prime...

Measuring poverty

POLITICALLY, poverty has been a sensitive issue in Pakistan, as it has been in many other developing countries. It ...

Lure of the blue passport

PASSPORT and visa issues continue to occupy our leaders. The latest evidence of this came on Friday when members of...

Yet another chance

WITH the government determined to have a dialogue with the TTP come what may, the rest of the stakeholders have...

Comments are closed.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
Front Page