Judiciary in Pakistan has seldom -- if ever -- appeared to be independent and empowered. All major national events involving the Supreme Court have ended with egg on the faces of justices. From the hanging of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to the widespread fraud in 2013 elections, judges have opted to placate the most powerful figures in national politics. Justice makes way for political gain. Is this about to change when the new Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court takes oath on December 31, 2016?
I seriously doubt it. The outgoing Chief Justice, Anwar Zaheer Jamali, spoke of honor and speedy justice before and during the Panama corruption case involving the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his immediate family. As the world witnessed Jamali chose to spend the last few weeks of his tenure before retirement in winter holidays, leaving the case midway to be taken up by the incoming bench in 2017. Was this honorable? Was this speedy justice? There is no honor in absconding from duty, that too when the nation's future hangs in the balance. The Dishonorable Justice Jamali added his name to the long list of dishonorable men who came before him.
From the perspective of a common citizen who expects the country's highest court to deliver speedy justice, judges have to consider three things:
- Have any laws been violated?
- Did the accused violate these laws?
- Under what circumstances did the accused violate these laws?
Many, many laws have been violated by Nawaz Sharif and his immediate family. There is absolutely no doubt in the mind of the entire nation. They continuously violated laws and the nation's trust to gain financial benefits for themselves over the last 30+ years. And they're continuing to do so.
Any judge who expects a smoking gun to be presented to the court is either incompetent or willing participant in the PM's corruption. Those who've been in power for almost four decades seldom leave any smoking guns laying about. In these cases judges have to construct a time line with the "circumstantial" evidence presented to them. The time line is pretty clear and damning: Nawaz Sharif and his family have looted Pakistan with impunity. A common citizen on the streets understands this. Alas, the Supreme Court has tried to brush the matter under the rug.
The role of judiciary now must be to grow the required proverbial balls to make a decision that is just: convict Nawaz Sharif and his family of breach of national trust, money laundering, and corruption. They must be stripped of their official positions, sent to jail for hard labor, and forced to return every single penny they've illegally and unethically stolen from Pakistan. Anything less will be the justices' own breach of national trust. They'll also have added their own names to the infamous list of those who sold their iman and their motherland due to greed or cowardice.
I pray to Allah to give strength to the incoming judges of Pakistan's Supreme Court to make a brave and just decision. For the sake of the future of Pakistan's citizens who've suffered enough at the hands of politicians, military, bureaucracy, and judiciary.