Judiciary will safeguard democracy and the Constitution in 2019

Political anxiety is increasing in Pakistan amid rumours that the Pakistan Tehrik e Insaf’s government wants to topple Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s provincial government in Sindh or impose Governor’s Rule, and also intends to revoke the 18th Amendment of the constitution. The political concerns among the masses increased after Mian Nawaz Sharif’s conviction in Al Azizia Steel Mill Case, and were doubled after a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of Federal Investigation Agency produced a report about alleged corruption of former President Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah and several others.

The JIT’s report was submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan last week, and Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar made some aggressive remarks while addressing to the lawyers of Asif Zardari. His remarks puzzled the PTI’s leaders, who immediately started believing that the Supreme Court is committed to punish Zardari &Co. They forgot that the law takes its course on the basis of evidences, and not the rhetoric. The PTI leaders immediately issued statements about change of government in Sindh and imposition of Governor’s Rule with a firm belief that they can achieve their targets easily without any resistance. The federal cabinet placed names of 172 PPP leaders and sympathizers on Exit Control List (ECL).

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, who started his career as a PPP’s activist from Lahore in 1998, later served Pervaiz Musharraf and they again joined PPP in 2011, planned his visit to Karachi for wheeling-dealing for the change of government in Sindh with confidence that the Supreme Court will not show any resistance. But, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar turned the table on Monday. He literally grilled the government for placing 172 names on the ECL. He said that the JIT’s report is not a scripture and warned the PTI to stay away from any kind of unconstitutional political adventurism like imposing of the Governor’s Rule in Sindh. He said, “It will take a minute to dismiss the Governor’s Rule.”

It is really a good omen for the PML-N and PPP, which doubt that Chief Justice Nisar is getting personal with them. In the eye of law, there is nothing personal. The honorable CJ is retiring on January 15 but his role as a reformist will continue as he will keep supervising the Dams Projects for which he resorted to sincere and untiring efforts.

The CJ Nisar will be replaced by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, famous as an upright and strict judge, who is not a staunch supporter of democracy and the Constitution. Mr Khosa is also known for his disinterest in the judicial activism like visiting hospitals or raiding offices. But, as a judge, he is said to be a strict follower of legal merits.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan is giving good signals to the democratic forces, which fear that Pakistan’s democracy would be defaced by the incumbent government or some powerful quarters. They should rest assured that the Supreme Court of Pakistan is the guardian of democracy and the Constitution and will thwart all conspiracies against them.

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