ISLAMABAD: A day after handing down a judgement barring ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif from heading the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday provided the justification for his remarks made earlier that he was a fighter and would continue to fight.

Without quoting the name of any politician, Justice Nisar said that someone had objected to his remarks and clarified that he was fighting against social menace as he resolved to struggle to provide basic necessities to the people of the country.

“I want to ensure supply of clean drinking water, clear environment, pure milk, hygienic meat, etc, and I wish that the farmers get reasonable price for their crops,” the CJP said while addressing lawyers during a surprise visit to the cafeteria of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA).

He conceded that the superior judiciary had detracted from its direction but it was never too late to set the direction right. He also said that it was a fault on the part of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for the delay in making decision on the references against judges of the superior courts.

Assures lawyers judicial council will decide all pending references against judges by June

The chief justice himself heads the SJC.

Though CJP Nisar was not formally invited by the bar association, he said the IHCBA president had in the past twice invited him and he planned to visit the bar to have a cup of tea with the lawyers on Thursday morning.

The CJP arrived in the crowded cafeteria when the candidates for the IHCBA annual elections scheduled for Feb 24 were presenting their manifestos and the organisers had to suspend their “projection meeting” for more than an hour.

The sudden and unexpected visit of the CJP provided the lawyers’ representatives an opportunity to place before him a number of demands, including early decisions on pending references and construction of lawyers’ chambers.

In a rare development, some lawyers raised slogans against incumbent IHC Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi in the presence of Justice Nisar.

In his speech, IHCBA president Mohammad Arif Chaudhry said the delay in decision on the pending references against judges of the superior judiciary would cause disrespect of courts in the public at large.

He said lawyers were also concerned about this inordinate delay as they argued that when the courts were passing bold decisions on other issues then why these references had not been decided so far and the SJC kept waiting till the retirement of the accused judge to dispose of the reference for being infructuous.

In response, CJP Nisar revealed that 43 references had been disposed of over the past few months. He said the SJC had decided one reference in favour of a judge since he was facing allegations for writing contradictory judgements.

He assured the lawyers that the SJC would decide all such references by June this year. He called the lawyers his fighters to achieve the milestone.

Justice Nisar observed that countries progressed with education, leadership, rule of law and strong adjudicator, adding that the superior judiciary had laid foundation stone of eliminating injustice from society and it was up to the lawyers to complete the building.

He also assured the lawyers of resolving their other issues, including rotation of judges of subordinate judiciary and appointment of judges in the IHC from the Islamabad Capital Territory.

At the outset, CJP Nisar said it was not in his schedule to visit the IHC, adding that he had called Arif Chaudhry in the early morning and desired to have a cup of tea with him in the IHCBA.

Mr Chaudhry said it was a pleasant surprise when he received the call from CJP Nisar and it was the latter’s affection for the legal fraternity that he visited the IHCBA.

Some lawyers insisted that the CJP take up the matter relating to the construction of lawyers’ chambers along with the suo motu notice he had taken against the encroachment on a football ground.

Islamabad Bar Association President Riasat Ali Azad said the lawyers had no other option but to construct the chambers on the amenity land. He requested the CJP to direct the government to release funds from the public exchequer for the construction of the chambers on government land.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2018