HYDERABAD, April 15: The ‘suspended’ Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Mr Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has stressed the need for supremacy of the constitution and law.
Addressing a large gathering of lawyers at a reception organised by the Hyderabad Chapter of the High Court Bar Association and the Hyderabad District Bar Association in the civil courts building here on Sunday, he said a civilised society was ruled by the constitution and a representative system of governance.
Deviation from constitution, he added, led to anarchy and bad governance while complete obedience to constitution by everyone ensured rule of law. He also said that unless all citizens had access to justice and got resolution of their disputes they would be at the mercy of the strong and the oppressor.
Activists of several political parties carrying party flags gave a warm welcome to Justice Iftikhar on his arrival here from Sukkur by road.
Everyone was taken by surprise to find 15 sitting judges of the Sindh High Court at the reception. They were Mr Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Mr Justice Ameer Hani Muslim, Mr Justice Mohammad Moosa K. Leghari, Mr Justice Faisal Arab, Mr Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Mr Justice Ali Sain Dino Metlo, Justice Mrs Qaiser Iqbal, Mr Justice Rehmat Hussain Jafri, Mr Justice Zawar Hussain Jafri, Mr Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Mr Justice Mushir Alam, Mr Justice Munib Ahmed Khan, Mr Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Mr Justice Maqbool Baqar and Mr Justice Athar Saeed. Hyderabad District and Sessions Judge Zafar Ahmed Sherwani, Additional Advocate-General of Sindh Masood A. Noorani and some judges of subordinate judiciary were also present.
Justice Iftikhar was given a standing ovation and as he began his speech slogans of “Go Musharraf go” were raised.
The focus of the CJ’s speech was on the rule of Constitution and law and access to justice and his exercise of suo motu jurisdiction which led to dispensation of speedy justice in several cases all over the country. He said he believed that when justice was dispense by a court no less than the apex court the executive found it difficult to disobey it.
He said constitutionalism was antithesis of dictatorial or authoritarian system of governance. He said that the institution of judiciary, its sanctity, independence, impartiality and ability to do justice was “our common goal as we have to strive, in our humble way, to maintain and enhance the prestige and authority of this institution”.
HCBA President Abdul Sattar Kazi, Pakistan Bar Council’s Vice-Chairman Ali Ahmed Kurd, Supreme Court Bar Association President Muneer A. Malik and former president of the SCBA Hamid Ali Khan also spoke on the occasion.
Mr. Malik demanded unconditional withdrawal of the presidential reference and release of lawyers and other people arrested while protesting against the filing of the reference.
“All those who were behind this reference should be unmasked and brought to justice. The state should account for every one of the missing persons and those responsible for their unlawful detention should be brought to book,” he said.
Ali Ahmed Kurd called upon President Pervez Musharraf to disclose the names of the five generals who were with him when he called the Chief Justice to the Army House on March 9.
“Tell us General why those five generals had adopted a threatening posture towards the chief justice. And I am telling this with full responsibility to the audience that Musharraf would have to apologise for that,” he declared amid applause.
Hamid Ali Khan urged people to seize the opportunity and change history and decide to take Pakistan on the road of constitutional dispensation.
“It’s time that we should be counted,” he said, while referring to those who had resigned in support of the CJP.