KARACHI: Undeterred by the jail term handed down to PML-N’s Senator Nehal Hashmi for committing contempt of court and the apex court’s suo motu notice of “anti-judiciary speeches” by two federal ministers, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif continued to slam the judiciary as he said that the PCO judges and the infamous doctrine of necessity had caused an irreparable loss to the country and democracy.

Mr Sharif told the participants of a seminar, titled Future of democracy in Pakistan, that the movement to restore the judiciary was not for mere reinstatement of a few judges. The movement restored the judiciary, but the people could not get justice. It’s time to launch a movement for “restoration of justice”, he said.

He expressed almost similar views at a lawyers’ programme later in the day.

Says long hands of judicial power have reached legislature after overpowering executive

He said that in the Supreme Court alone over 18,000 cases had been pending, but the judiciary always decided cases of political nature on a fast-track basis.

“Today, the office of prime minister has been paralysed and the PM and the federal cabinet cannot even appoint an administrative officer,” he said, adding: “Recently, the authority of the prime minister and chief ministers to form a judicial commission on any important matter has also been curtailed.”

Talking about the discretionary powers of the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, Mr Sharif said that the “long hands of this discretionary power have reached legislature after overpowering the executive.”

He said a part of the judiciary had also caused an irreparable loss to Pakistan, where four dictators had ruled for 30 years while those who got the people’s mandate could not survive more than two years.

He said that the judiciary had adopted a strict attitude, which was often “against the norms of justice”, about politicians and elected representatives compared to dictators who were always “dear to them”.

The ousted PM added that while the judiciary had reviewed the laws made by parliament, it not only provide justification to dictators for violating constitution, but also allowed them to do whatever they wanted to do with the Constitution.

“You know I am talking about Irshad Hasan Khan,” he said while obliquely referring to the then Chief Justice of Pakistan who endorsed the Provisional Constitution Order of former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf.

He said words like “godfather and Sicilian mafia” were used against him in the Panama case verdict. He said it was not his insult but the insult of the office of prime minister.

“I agree that the judiciary do command respect, but it is also necessary that the judiciary in view of its position and honour should care about the self respect of others,” he said.

He paid tributes to former CJP Justice Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui for not bowing before the dictator.

He said he could say with certainty that the future of democracy was bright in the country. “Democracy has taken roots and cannot be buried. There is political awakening among the people.”

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2018