Founder PJDP
Published July 12, 2018

From rebel to stranger

by Adnan Rasool

Justice Chaudhry was truly the first chief justice who embraced judicial activism and carved out the space for the judiciary to be independent.

His struggle through the lawyers’ movement took out a vicious dictator, but his refusal to allow democracy to function eventually tarnished his legacy.

Ten years later, he has no sway, no legacy and a tarnished image.

Key stances as politician and CJP

  • Iftikhar Chaudhry opposed the establishing of military courts to try terror suspects.“Military courts are illegal and unconstitutional. The basic structure of the Constitution guarantees an independent judiciary, and military courts cannot be established in the presence of an independent judiciary,” Chaudhry said in 2014.

  • The former top judge has also expressed support for a presidential form of government “as envisaged by the Quaid-i-Azam” as opposed to the current parliamentary system, which Chaudhry believes has miserably flopped in Pakistan.

  • As chief justice, Chaudhry was critical of enforced disappearances and took up cases addressing the issue of missing persons.“There is no law that allows enforced disappearances in the country,” the then-CJP said in 2013.

  • Chaudhry was regarded as an activist judge and took a number of suo motu notices on matters relating to public interest. He believes that the judiciary has a duty to act if the executive fails to fulfill its duties. "The first and foremost duty of the executive is to ensure adherence to rule of law in the country. If the executive fails to fulfill its duty and due to lapses on its part the fundamental rights are threatened, the judiciary has a duty to act," he told a full court reference in a farewell address on the eve of his retirement from the post of top judge.