KARACHI: “With former chief justices Saqib Nisar and Iftikhar Chaudhry having taken 70 and 417 suo motu notices, respectively, there is an era of judicial activism being experienced like never before,” said Huma Baqai, while moderating the session ‘Judicial activism vs judicial restraint’ on the second day of the KLF on Saturday.

The audience was expecting former chief justice Saqib Nisar to be in attendance. However, due to the uncertain situation in the country and flights being delayed, he was unable to attend the session, it was shared.

Pakistani defence analyst, security expert and retired Pakistan Army officer Ikram Sehgal spoke about how the country had seen a lot of judicial activism in the past few years as compared to the judicial restraint exercised before. One such example of judicial activism was when blatant crimes in the cities went unchecked and could not be reined in.

“My fellow panellist Jamil Yusuf is an unsung hero of this country because in the early 1990s when there were many murders and kidnappings that the police was unable to control, he eventually helped bring to the fore the Rangers to curb the onslaught of crime. The coordination between the Rangers and the army stopped the menace in the city and province,” he explained.

Empress Market was destroyed and nobody inquired about who allowed the encroachments in the first place, speakers observe

It is easy to question this decision, he said, but the bravery shown by Jamil Yusuf and others involved is exemplary and brought the situation back in control which had become dire.

Jamil Yusuf elaborated on the action carried out by the Rangers and credited them for ridding the city of terrorism, ethnic, criminal and religious terror.

He also spoke about how judicial activism nowadays was misplaced and tended to only target specific people and does not punish the true perpetrators. “Empress Market was destroyed and nobody inquired who allowed the illegal encroachments in the first place. Did you punish them? No, you did not.”

Former Justice Najeebullah Siddiqi spoke about the excellence of the State of Madina where even the rulers were held accountable and lived up to high levels of justice; they were never exempt from what was expected from the citizens.

He also shared with the audience a letter he had written to former chief justice Saqib Nisar. In it he expressed his opinion that the judicial activism expressed was not a welcome step and opened the judiciary to a lot of criticism and scrutiny.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2019

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