ISLAMABAD, Jan 16: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has reacted sharply to a campaign in the capital apparently against the Supreme Court for taking up some cases.
“There is chest beating going on in the city that the Supreme Court should not hear the (rental power projects) case,” the chief justice observed while hearing different cases.
A number of lawyers present in the courtroom and approached by Dawn said they were not clear about what the occasion was and what the observation really meant.
But a few of them who did not want to be named said the reaction was in response to criticism about the timing of the court’s order for the arrest of the prime minister in the RPP case and Dr Tahirul Qadri’s demand for dismissal of the government at a large public meeting held only one kilometre away from the Supreme Court building.
The chief justice repeated the observation thrice in a day on different occasions. He made the first such observation while hearing a case relating to the implementation of the court’s June 8, 2012, verdict in which the Election Commission of Pakistan had been directed to introduce electoral reforms.
The second occasion was when PML-N MNA Advocate Naseer Bhutta requested the court to fix a provincial election matter of Syed Ehsan Shah on Jan 21. The chief justice again made the observation when former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Mohammad Yasin Azad was pleading a case of Karachi’s former mayor Naimatullah Khan against the conversion of public land into residential or commercial plots in the city.
None of the cases was even slightly linked to the RPP case.
“We are sharing with you, Yasin sahib, because you are an important member of the bar,” the chief justice said, but hastened to add: “There is beating of drums in the city that the Supreme Court should not hear the cases. “Ironically, those propagating the campaign belong to us (legal community). Should we hear the cases or not, what you say. We have taken oath to dispense justice at all cost in accordance with the law and the Constitution. Let heaven falls.”
The chief justice observed that the court heard cases while sitting inside the courtroom and was least bothered about what was happening outside. Without naming anyone, he said a federal minister was commenting on the court’s ruling without even reading it, adding that it did not behove of anybody to degrade and humiliate institutions.
“Should we also beat drums for pronouncement of our cases; we have no concern on the outside drumbeating.” The court needed only blessings of God and was not ‘hungry’ for anyone’s appreciation, the chief justice said.
PETITION AGAINST QADRI: Meanwhile, a private citizen filed a petition seeking the Supreme Court’s opinion whether a foreign national could hold a political rally to allegedly subvert the Constitution and overthrow parliament and provincial assemblies by show of force.
Shahid Orakzai made Dr Tahirul Qadri respondent in his petition and requested the court to direct the cleric to deny that he had held in the first week of October 1999 a secret meeting with then ISI director general Lt-Gen Ziauddin Butt who was later promoted to the post of Chief of the Army Staff.
After the meeting Dr Qadri had said at a press conference in Islamabad that “Musharraf and Ziauddin Bhai Bhai Hain (former president Pervez Musharraf and Ziauddin are brothers)” and exposed the alleged activities of then chief minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif in Washington for seeking a warning against the armed forces.
The petition accused Dr Qadri of flattering the judiciary to achieve his ulterior motives. It said flattery was negation of dignity of man under Article 14 of the Constitution and the Supreme Court should reject it.