Justice (retired) Nasim Hasan Shah’s offer
Salman Akram Raja, writing on the moral position of the lawyers’ movement reminds us of this grim chapter of our history:
Is it time now to abandon concern for what is right? Justice (retired) Nasim Hasan Shah reminds us in his remarkable memoirs that during the Bhutto appeal before the Supreme Court he had offered, on behalf of all Punjabi judges, a deal that Justice (retired) Dorab Patel had turned down. The deal was that the Punjabis would not grant Mr. Bhutto the death sentence if the non-Punjabis would agree to convict the accused and punish him with life imprisonment. Justice Patel’s overly moral and legalistic rebuff was “How can I convict a man I think is innocent?” It is clear to Justice Shah that it was the failure of the deal offered by him on account of Justice Patel’s obsession with the law and the morality of his position as a judge that caused Mr. Bhutto’s death. Is there a time when doing the right thing is not right…”
Mr Raja is at the forefront of the lawyers’ movement. His emphasis on the moral argument is understandable. This little snippet just reminded one of the most bizarre court cases with tragic consequences; not to mention the public admission by the good Judge on a TV show that the Supreme Court made a mistake in hanging Bhutto!!