THIS is with reference to the report “Top court takes exception to UK envoy’s ‘open society’ jibe” (May 30). On the anniversary of the former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir, British High Commissioner Jane Marriott had unnecessarily criticised certain Supreme Court decisions. In serious circles, this criticism was dismissed as unjustified. Many expected the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to respond. As such, it would have been better if British diplomats had addressed the judicial decisions of their own country.

The judiciary itself decided to respond. On the instructions of Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the registrar of the Supreme Court wrote a detailed letter to the British diplomat concerned, and copies of the letter were sent to the president of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and the Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales. This act has raised our judiciary’s stature and instilled pride in our nationhood.

The letter explained that the remarks were entirely unjustified. If there had been any ill intent, court proceedings in the relevant case would not have been shown live on television. The Supreme Court, the letter clarified, has corrected mistakes made in the past, just as Britain has done. In this regard, the letter mentioned historical events, such as the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948, and the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953, acknowledging the importance of admitting past mistakes publicly.

It is obvious that a timely response from the event organisers would have made the Supreme Court letter unnecessary. There is no dearth of people who question the United Kingdom’s lack of action against Pakistanis staying in London and spreading propaganda and hatred inside Pakistan. The UK’s silence in such cases explains itself. Even worse is the case of UK’s support for Israel even when the United Nations and the International Court of Justice have found fault with Israel.

Chief Justice Isa’s decision to write a letter in response to the British high commissioner’s misplaced criticism was a commendable step that came to the rescue of the nation’s pride.

Will the diplomat regret her unjustified remarks an render an apology in the matter?

Tallat Abbas Khan
Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2024

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