Khosa denounces malicious drive against judiciary

Published December 21, 2019
Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa addresses 
the full-court reference at SC building on Friday. Chief 
Justice-designate Gulzar Ahmed (left) is also seen.—PPI
Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa addresses the full-court reference at SC building on Friday. Chief Justice-designate Gulzar Ahmed (left) is also seen.—PPI

• Rubbishes the allegation he supported treason case order against former military dictator
• Additional attorney general says Musharraf case judgement ‘seems to have been rendered with animus and vengeance’
• Justice Gulzar to take over as CJP today

ISLAMABAD: While rejecting the allegation that he supported the special court order in the treason case against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, the outgoing Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa has regretted that a malicious campaign has been initiated against him and the judiciary.

The chief justice, who will doff his robes as the top adjudicator on Friday midnight, was speaking at a full-court reference held to bid farewell to him on reaching superannuation.

The three-judge special court had recently awarded the death penalty to former dictator Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case for proclaiming emergency and putting Pakistan’s Constitu­tion in abeyance on Nov 3, 2007.

“I completely reject the allegations that I supported the special court order. The allegations are baseless and incorrect,” said the outgoing chief justice, explaining that as judges “we know the limits of our powers and we know that the truth will prevail”.

Chief Justice-designate Gulzar Ahmed, Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Qalbe Hassan and Additional Attorney Gen­eral Chaudhry Aamir Reh­man on behalf of Attorney General Anwar Mansoor also spoke on the occasion. However, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan, who were abroad, could not attend the reference.

The observation of the outgoing chief justice came on the statement of Additional AG Chaudhry Rehman who bemoaned that the principle enunciated by Article 10-A of the Constitution about fair trial and proof being without reasonable doubt was ignored in the special court order. The Musharraf case “judgement seems to have been rendered with animus and vengeance as is evident from the opinion of Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth, who was presiding over the special court”, the law officer alleged.

Mr Rehman was of the opinion that the mode of execution of sentence ordered by the president of the special court apart from being “totally illegal was also inhumane, barbaric, ludicrous against the fundamental rights and all norms of criminal justice system”. He alleged that the chief justice spoke to the media late night despite the fact that the Supreme Court was the appellate court in relation to the judgement of the special court and supported the short order/judgement passed by the special court, especially when the detailed verdict had not been issued.

Addressing the reference, CJP Khosa observed that he believed that a judge, besides being just and fair to all, should have a heart of a lion, nerves of steel, wisdom of a sage, expression of a man of letters and approach full of empathy and compassion. “These were the ideals that I strived to follow but I do not know how successful I was,” the chief justice said, adding he however could say that he always tried to be true to the oath of his office.

“I gave my hundred per cent to the job, tried to perform beyond the call of duty, never raised my voice, spoke mainly through my pen, never delayed a judgement unduly and after giving the best years of my life to this public service I lay down my robes today with a conscience which is clear as crystal.

“I, however, in all humility at my command, seek forgiveness from all those in whose cases my judgement might have gone wrong unwittingly and also from those whose feelings I might have hurt unintentionally. Allah Almighty is most forgiving and likes those who forgive,” the chief justice said.

Justice Khosa observed that his tenure as the chief justice lasted a little over 11 months or 337 days to be exact. During this period, he said, he strived for meaningful contribution towards judicial reforms.

Some of the initiatives that the chief justice recalled were aimed at adhering to the principle of separation of powers, exercise of judicial restraint, improving the image of the Supreme Court as a dignified judicial forum sitting at the apex of judicial hierarchy, ensuring dignity and respect of litigants, officials and lawyers appearing before the court.

He said all-out efforts were made to put the house in order with the approach to improve justice delivery system, the rampant practice of seeking and discouraging adjournments to minimise delays, setting up video-linkage, establishing a state-of-the-art research centre, revamping and upgrading official website, launching of a mobile phone app, and installation of e-kiosk for assisting lawyers.

Besides, a working paper on proposed amendments to the Supreme Court Rules, 1980 for regulating suo motu exercise under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and to provide for an Intra-Court Appeal had been presented before the full court and the same was under active consideration, the outgoing CJP said.

Chief Justice-designate Gulzar Ahmed said the rule of law, protection of the Constitution and the independence of the judiciary were the foremost tasks with which this court had always been confronted with. This court, in the past, had addressed these challenges and would continue to do the same with due dignity and profoundness, he added.

Trichotomy of power

“The Constitution is a living document based upon trichotomy of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary, and the system of checks and balances is well entrenched in our polity,” Justice Ahmed observed.

The preamble to the Constitution, the fundamental rights and the principles of policy, as enshrined in the Constitution, were for the benefit and protection of the people, the chief justice-designate added.

“The state should ensure not only protection of its people but also that they are given due share in the social and economic well-being,” Justice Ahmed said, while highlighting the need to make people’s lives better.

The most essential need of the time was that the state should build and provide for civic infrastructure, civil infrastructure keeping in line the time and pace of the ever-progressing world, he said.

“Humanistic approach” needed to be adopted at all levels by the state in performance of its functions, which should be inculcated at all levels of society “for healthy growth of the nation”, the chief justice-designate said.

He also highlighted the need for seriously addressing corruption and illegalities in all departments of the state and those involved in such activities be dealt with deterrence, as this was the most basic and fundamental scourge that did not allow the country to grow and prosper.

PBC Vice Chairman Amjad Shah deplored government’s intention to move the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against Justice Waqar Seth who presided over the special court that declared ex-dictator Musharraf guilty of high treason.

The lawyers’ community would oppose any such move, the vice president of the bar council said, adding that the treason judgement against the former military ruler should be written in golden words so that no adventurist would dare abrogating the Constitution in future.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2019

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