MQM-P’s Mustafa Kamal
MQM-P’s Mustafa Kamal

ISLAMABAD: A day after senators Faisal Vawada and Talal Chaudhry questioned judges about their allegations of interference by intelligence agencies in judicial matters, leaders of MQM-P and Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP) also jumped on the bandwagon on Thursday, reminding the judiciary of its own shortcomings.

In separate press conferences at the National Press Club, MQM-P’s Syed Mustafa Kamal and IPP’s Awn Chaudhry called for establishing ethical standards for the judges as well.

Mr Kamal, the MQM-P deputy convener, said the most serious issue in the country was limited access to justice for ordinary citizens.

“Justice is not delivered by the system. It can only be bought,” Mr Kamal said, adding that these were not his accusations but a common perception found among judges as well.

Mustafa Kamal, Awn Chaudhry question different application of dual nationality law on politicians and judges

Flanked by other party leaders, Mr Kamal claimed the judiciary had set “ethical standards” for politicians and the dual citizenship of judges was a “big question mark” and the judiciary should be made answerable on this issue.

He referred to a letter written by a senator to the Islamabad High Court seeking answers regarding the dual citizenship of a judge.

“The reply [from IHC] was that there was no bar on dual citizenship of judges in the Constitution,” the MQM-P leader said, adding that the standard of dual nationality was different for politicians.

He also referred to a “direct confrontation” between the judiciary and the army, saying that the country was currently polarised and that “the only unifying factor in our country is our disciplined army.”

“Now it looks like a war between judiciary and army,” Mr Kamal said, adding that politicians can remain aloof to these issues and “we want these issues to be resolved.”

The matter concerning security institutions shouldn’t be used for “point scoring”, and instead solved through consensus by sitting with defence institutions.

He then criticised judges’ conduct, saying those who raise these issues are the ones whose own actions “were dubious.”

“We have learnt that a judge allegedly owned a housing society and was allegedly promoting that housing society.”

He said the role of foreign powers in this confrontation should also be probed to establish any possible foreign interference in this matter. He added that there should be rules, regulations and ethical standards for the judiciary too and if there were any flaws in the Constitution, they should be removed through legislation.

He announced that he will take up this matter in the Parliament and introduce legislation for a code of conduct and standards for transparency for the judiciary.

Responding to a query over why he was holding the press conference, the MQM-P leader said differences between the judiciary and establishment were being reported in the media, and that’s why “we too were coming on the media”.

“If the turf would have been any different forum, we would have been a party at the forum.”

Later, IPP’s Mr Chaudhry held a news conference on the same issue.

He said a crisis has been stirred up and it would lead to an “anarchy in the country”.

He repeated the issues raised by the MQM-P leaders in their news conference and called for equal interpretation of law for all citizens.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2024

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