LAHORE: Supreme Court Bar Association former president Asma Jahangir on Monday said that it was people’s choice to criticise the country’s institutions, including the judiciary, but the judges did not need to prove their transparency by issuing statements.
Talking to media-persons in Lahore, the SCBA former president said, “People do criticise institutions but it was not right for the judiciary to give clarification for its actions.”
“If the judiciary will compare petitioners with the mafias then it will have to expect the backlash from people in the form of criticism.
Jahangir, a human rights lawyer and a social activist, said democracy and supremacy of the law run parallel to each other. “It would not be right to say that the top court is a corrupt institution, but where would the petitioner go if the apex court does not give fair treatment?”, she asked.
Jahangir’s comments came in reference to the statements given by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on December 16, in which he urged the public to “stop doubting the integrity of the judiciary”.
“If someone had been able to dictate [the judges], the Hudaibiya judgement would not have turned out the way it did,” he pointed out.
“All the judges are independent and can take their own decisions.”
Referring to the “analysis on TV channels in the evenings”, he said that the perception that there was some kind of division within the SC was false and the judiciary has become a part of a bigger plan or design.
“We have made all decisions independently with our conscience,” he remarked, adding that people should stop criticising the judiciary for verdicts against them. The people who review or comment on decisions of the court should read the verdict first, he said.
Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court had let PTI chief Imran Khan free and disqualified PTI General Secretary Jahangeer Tareen in a case pertaining to assets beyond known sources of income. Following the verdict, it was widely criticised by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and its allies. The PML-N chief, Nawaz Sharif, had already launched a campaign against judiciary following his disqualification in the Panama Papers case, which he alluded to his anti-judiciary remarks in the wake of the Imran-Tareen verdict.