A tribute to CJP (R) Saqib Nisar
AFTER the retirement of CJP Saqib Nisar, most analysts, commentariat and people in general are all praise for him, and believe that his name will go down in the history for his courage in bringing the corrupt members of the ruling elite to book, as nobody had challenged them in the past. Of course, corrupt elements, qabza mafia, exploiters and owners of educational institutions that were fleecing the public by charging exorbitant fees, criticize him and accuse him of going beyond his domain. It is worth noting that only when cases are instituted against those who amassed wealth illegally using their official position, they start accusing the judiciary of lackadaisicalness and refer to hundreds of thousands of pending cases. But during their tenures in the government they neither tried to help improve the judicial system nor fulfilled judiciary’s demand for increasing the strength of session court and high court judges to overcome problem.
Those politicians who were facing charges for corruption or those indicted on the basis of revelations of Panama leaks used vitriolic against judiciary, and were critical of CJP’s remarks that were perhaps in retaliation to the foul language used by them against judiciary. Such elements have been critical of military establishment for giving support to the government and judiciary. Whereas ISPR does not think it appropriate to respond to the scathing criticism by such elements, judges have the power and tool to prosecute them for contempt of court. However, sometimes there was misunderstanding such as when during hearing of a case he passed remarks about Hussain Naqi. Knowing that Hussain Naqi was a veteran journalist and a gentleman, he retracted his remarks and offered to restore Hussain Naqi as member of the Punjab Healthcare Commission. This gesture was indeed a sign of grace that the CJ was quick to acknowledge his mistake and recognised Naqi’s stature.
It would be pertinent to produce some excerpts from CJP Asif Saeed Khosa’s speech during full court reference for outgoing CJ Saqib Nisar. In his lengthy address, he paid tributes to the fellow judge, and among other things he stated: “A sincere friend, a trusted confidant, a wise counsel and an accomplished and erudite Judge like Mian Sahib shall no longer be available on the Bench to help, to advise and guide me. I have served with more than a hundred Judges of the Lahore High Court and of this Court so far and I have found Mian Sahib’s mastery over civil, tax, revenue, service and constitutional law enviable and difficult to match. I have no hesitation in acknowledging that Mian Sahib will go down in history as one of those Chief Justices who steered the Court quite ably in testing times.”
There is a perception that none of his predecessors had devoted his attention to many issues of public importance especially regarding the citizens’ fundamental rights. Whereas his detractors blame him for overstepping his domain, Saqib Nisar however believed that his actions were in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. His keen interest in provision of clean drinking water in cities, removal of encroachment upon the State land, adequate medical facilities in hospitals, proper management of medical and legal education, supply of pure milk, recovery of written-off bank loans, proper investigation of mega corruption scams, population welfare, building of dams and water reservoirs, retirement of national debt and in some other areas of public importance has sensitised the governments and the populace at large on such vital issues. His efforts made towards police reforms are also likely to lead to an upturn in administration of justice.
CJP Asif Saeed Khosa had also a piece of advice for all the pillars of the State and institution and said: “I am of the opinion that we have reached a stage in our national life where we must take stock of the mistakes committed in the past and to come up with a Charter of Governance. I would propose that such a summit may be attended by the top parliamentary leadership, the top judicial leadership and the top executive leadership including the military and the intelligence agencies. After bringing all such major stakeholders in the national governance on one table an effort should be made through such proposed exercise to heal the wounds of the past, attend to the sore points and work out a practicable policy framework whereas every organ and institution of the State exercises its powers and performs its functions within its constitutionally defined limits.”
In order to mislead and create confusion in the minds of people, PPP leaders vow that they will not allow undoing of 18th Amendment. They convey an impression that rights of the provinces would be taken away, whereas there is no such move. However, a renowned lawyer and constitutional expert late Abdul Hafiz Pirzada had then termed the Amendment regarding Article 63-A “obnoxious” to the extent that it gave unprecedented powers to the party head who could get an elected member of the Party disqualified. Keeping in view the powers of the heads of political parties — most of them dynasties — they do not expect empowerment of the disempowered and disenfranchised masses to freely elect whoever they want to represent them, as only oligarchs can afford to participate in the elections. It is only the oligarchy that would come again and again, no matter what method of elections is adopted.