The views expressed in this piece are not those of PTH. This article was sent to us as a contrarian viewpoint and in the interest of promoting a debate, we are posting it. Some of the contents are controversial; and we hope that the readers will correct the perceptions about the judicial activism that is supported by many people in Pakistan. (PTH Editors)
Once a democratic champion, the Chief Justice now undermines the elected government. (WSJ-OPINION ASIA)
When U.S. President Barack Obama sharply challenged a recent Supreme Court decision in his State of the Union address, prompting a soto voce rejoinder from Justice Samuel Alito, nobody was concerned that the contretemps would spark a blood feud between the judiciary and the executive. The notion that judges could or would work to undermine a sitting U.S. president is fundamentally alien to America’s constitutional system and political culture. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Pakistan.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, the country’s erstwhile hero, is the leading culprit in an unfolding constitutional drama. It was Mr. Chaudhry’s dismissal by then-President Pervez Musharraf in 2007 that triggered street protests by lawyers and judges under the twin banners of democracy and judicial independence. This effort eventually led to Mr. Musharraf’s resignation in 2008. Yet it is now Mr. Chaudhry himself who is violating those principles, having evidently embarked on a campaign to undermine and perhaps even oust President Asif Ali Zardari. (image above – Associated Press) Continue reading