Judicial triumph

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Calibri and Khadija – two victories for the courts

 

I happened to be present in the packed courtroom, feeling the indomitable adrenaline rush as Justice Ijaz Afzal Khan uttered the words ‘disqualified’. Faith in the judiciary couldn’t have been restored more thoroughly as it did on this dawning Friday.

 

 

The stroke of noon on Friday the 28th of July marked the end to the reign of Nawaz Sharif. Defying the soft treatment of the past, the judiciary in an unprecedented move sent the unofficial monarch of Pakistan home along with a list of references to be taken up within six months.

I happened to be present in the packed courtroom, feeling the indomitable adrenaline rush as Justice Ijaz Afzal Khan uttered the words ‘disqualified’. A wave of triumph could be felt across the entire courtroom with cheers on the faces of the Insaafians and a look of apprehension on the faces of the Nawaz team. Faith in the judiciary couldn’t have been restored more thoroughly as it did on this dawning Friday. History indeed has been penned down by the words typed in Calibri font in the final order of the court. Gone are the days when the Supreme Court could be attacked by a handful of goons and be forced to stop proceedings.

In a dark and gloomy corridor, the judiciary has at long last been able to ignite a flame of hope. For the N team, it is inapt to state that a patient hearing was not accorded or the chance to defend them was not provided. Unlike Mian sahib, no other leader or citizen of our country has been granted this many opportunities to defend himself. This in itself was preferential treatment extended to the Sharif family; otherwise the fate of the common man is that the apex court overturns a death sentence awarded to a man, only to find out later that the said sentence has been carried out during the pendency of his appeal.

And yet, the Sharif family during months of extensive legal battle has failed to provide the court with sufficient answers, thus leading to the 5-0 verdict. No claims of partiality or the verdict being based on popular sentiment carry weight. Yes indeed it was the wish of many to see the Sharifs sent packing but not only because they support Imran khan but because they wish to see a prospering Pakistan where accountability is anomalous.

For a start, this decision is highly commendable in its essence and duly deserves to be appreciated. The judiciary has finally taken over their true role as being the rightful umpires of the state.  Further success requires all of us to extend our support to them so that the looters and plunders of our country are brought to task. However, let us not forget that the politicians aren’t the only ones who fall in this bracket. Accountability should be unambiguous and in line with Article 25 of the constitution (equality of all citizens). This is just the beginning of a long and overdue process. Step 1 of a 3 step process has begun but in order to achieve the actual sustainability that we desire, the judiciary itself must bring out the tainted figures present within their own ranks and subject them to accountability. The famous equitable maxim “he who comes to equity, must come with clean hands” should be at first applied to the robed gentlemen themselves. Therefore he who wishes to dispense justice to the common man must do so with clean hands.

What would be more historic is, Arsalan Iftikhar being recalled and a joint investigation team constituted to impartially investigate the Monaco travel diaries. The faith restored in the judiciary would be short lived if Iftikhar Chaudhry continues to stutter about without having to answer the allegations levelled against him. Even the Panama leaks itself included the name of a member of the superior judiciary but the presence of Article 204 of the constitution hinders anyone to put that to question. A more symbolic approach would be to start the dry cleaning within by the Supreme judicial council actively taking up cases with the absence of any bias or prejudice.

It would all be for nothing if the accountability isn’t taken ahead with Step 2 being the judiciary and the final leg of the damning process being in Rawalpindi.

On the contrary, the trial of Khadija Siddiqui bore fruit over the weekend which I consider to be the actual judicial triumph. The pressure exerted and the ever so sweet treatment by our learned brothers of the bar was customary. Open threats hurled across the rostrum, character assassination of the victim coupled with the celebrity appearances of high face value trial lawyers from the accused’s side, were some of the few tactics employed to subdue the victim and deprive her of justice.

Despite being subjected to excessive intimidation, the judge stood his ground and sent the son of an influential lawyer to rot in jail for 7 years. This is the actual victory which traces its foundations to the landmark decision of the apex court.

 

Nevertheless, Khadija the fighter stood as an example for women of this country. No matter how inhumane the treatment, everyone should stand up to the oppressors. As I repeatedly state, this is a true example of being educated. Had Khadija been illiterate, the world wouldn’t even have known that a Shah Hussain existed. Her own family would have silenced her wounds in that case. Fortunately enough that wasn’t the scenario here. With unconditional support of the young educated class of lawyers, the fighter fought as no man could have. The strength of one girl has created an example for other women subjected to similar treatment to follow in her footsteps. Successfully and courageously Khadija was able to narrate the pain she felt, not the physical one but rather the mental anguish caused by the immoral behaviour of the defendants side.

Despite being subjected to excessive intimidation, the judge stood his ground and sent the son of an influential lawyer to rot in jail for 7 years. This is the actual victory which traces its foundations to the landmark decision of the apex court. By taking the lead, the superior judiciary can create an aura of fair play and thus empower the lower judiciary to value morality and integrity eventually summing up the courage to annihilate the criminals.

In cognizance of the above, I feel glorified to hereby state that as long as the upcoming generations include the likes of Khadija and her supporters, it would never be too easy for anyone to darken our country.