ISLAMABAD: The much-talked about meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar was again discussed in the Supreme Court on Thursday when the latter observed the judiciary had only gained from the huddle.

“Many people approach the judiciary for supplication and redressal of their grievances on a daily basis and we listen to them all,” said Chief Justice Nisar during a hearing relating to pollution and encroachment in Murree.

While pointing towards senior counsel and PPP leader Sardar Latif Khosa, the chief justice said he regarded the counsel as an elder brother and went on to claim that the judiciary had gained more than it lost as a result of the meeting.

“You should repose confidence in the judiciary and we will never let you down,” said Chief Justice Nisar to the senior counsel.

CJP Nisar rejects possibility of judicial martial law or NRO

A court statement issued after the meeting between the heads of two state institutions had said the prime minister had assured the chief justice that all resources would be made available to the judiciary in order to enable it to provide speedy and inexpensive justice to people, in addition to facilitating access of the masses to justice.

In a confident mood, the chief justice had observed in the court on Wednesday that in the wake of the meeting the government would not drag its feet on the issues highlighted by the judiciary.

On Thursday, Sardar Khosa said the Tuesday meeting had reminded him of Sir Abdul Rashid — the first chief justice of Pakistan, who was asked for a similar meeting by the then government.

But Chief Justice Nisar recalled that Sir Rashid was called by the then government. He said that in his case he declined to meet the prime minister when he was initially approached for a meeting and replied that the meeting could take place if the premier could come to him.

“We listen to all who come to our doorstep for redressal of their grievances,” the chief justice said. And without naming anyone, he added: “They come to us for supplication, but we lost nothing, rather gained, after the meeting.”

At this, Sardar Khosa retorted that everybody knew what their (the government’s) problem was. The country’s top judge, however, observed that he had not named anyone.

Later Chief Justice Nisar, while hearing a case about deputations in government departments like the Capital Development Authority, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences and the Holy Family Hospital, brushed aside the possibility of any judicial martial law or any kind of NRO.

The observation came when senior counsel Naeem Bokhari, who is also a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, talked about a whispering campaign that a judicial martial law was imminent or a NRO-like deal was in the offing to benefit former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

But the chief justice held aloft a copy of the Constitution and said: “We all will not survive if this green book will not prevail.

“Sitting in this highest office of this country, I am saying loud and clear that neither will such a thing happen nor will anything out of the Constitution take place.”

“The judiciary enjoys and exercises only that authority which has been bestowed upon it by the Constitution,” Chief Justice Nisar remarked and assured different litigants that the court would go to any length, but “while remaining within the four corners of the green book”.

He was rather bitter about criticism regarding displaying in Karachi of banners bearing his pictures and said his detractors had done nothing and he himself had to order the removal of the banners.

When during the proceedings an aggrieved individual from Balochistan said he wanted to open his heart to Baba Rehmatay, Mr Nisar said he felt the chief justice should do something to ameliorate the problems the hapless people were facing but “they” said he should not be doing anything. “Tell me what I should do,” he asked.

In the evening, the chief justice attended an international workshop of cardiologists where he underlined the need for complete revamping of the two most important sectors, namely the education and health sectors.

He also praised the committee the apex court had formed under the chairmanship of Dr Azhar Kiani because of whose efforts the cost of planting stents among heart patients was reduced to Rs100,000.

Chief Justice Nisar said he was not “fond of interfering” in the domain of the executive but “yearned to work jointly [with the government] for bringing improvement in the education and health sectors”.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2018

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