Mission to get rid of independent judiciary

  • But can they have their away?


Those who want to drag the two judges of the superior courts to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) continue to leak raw information to the media. While doing nothing to stop this, PEMRA seeks to muzzle the independent media that raises questions about the motives behind the accusations and the propriety of spreading the “information” before it is sifted by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). Since last Tuesday when a national daily broke the news about the reference sent by the President to SJC, those behind the smear campaign have continued the media trial of judges, particularly of SC justice Qazi Faez Isa on a daily basis.

A judge is not supposed to reply to charges levelled against him through media. In a letter written to the President however, Justice Isa observed that “selective leaks amount to character assassination” and jeopardise his right to due process and fair trial, while they undermine the institution of the judiciary. It appears now that the reference was initiated by Barrister Shahzad Akbar led Asset Recovery Unit (ARU). Within a short period of nine months the ARU chief has acquired the notoriety gathered by Saifur Rehman over years.

Those who started the campaign had miscalculated the public response. The very next day a Deputy Attorney General resigned in protest against the allegations calling these an attempt “to brow beat judiciary”. This was followed by strongly worded statements from PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz and PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who termed the reference an attempt to weed out independent the judiciary. The Senate passed a resolution condemning the two references as mala fide and politically motivated. The Supreme Court Bar Association has meanwhile threatened to lock down courts on June 14 in protest.

The PEMRA wants a similar blackout of news about the PTM. How can anyone ignore the opposition’s demand to produce the two PTM MNAs in the House as required under National Assembly rules and allow them to present their version of what happened at Kharqamar checkpost? The induction of two educated tribal leaders in the National Assembly is a good omen for the country. All the more so when they say they abide by the constitution and support democracy.