RAWALPINIDI: Independent-minded judges and independent judiciary are vital to the survival and progress of the country, deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry declared while addressing the lawyers` community in Multan on Friday, the Geo News reported.
He said strengthening and promotion of defence, parliament, democracy and investment hinged on the independence of judiciary. The first thing a foreign investor wants to ensure is that whether judges in the host country are bold and judiciary independent, he said. The investor knows that only independent courts can give him protection and relief in case of any untoward situation.
He said when he was performing his duties as the chief justice, he had summoned the institutions dealing with petroleum products and asked them about the mechanism of changing oil prices. He was told that a committee comprising private oil companies decided about the increase in prices. He said the Supreme Court at that time had done away with this system and given the task of oil prices review to Ogra.
He regretted that before they could evolve a judicious formula for review of oil prices, the judges were sent home under the November 3 action. “Give independent-minded judges to any nation and see how that nation prospers and progresses. But if independent-minded judges are arrested, the country is doomed to fail.”
Justice Iftikhar paid glowing tributes to all segments of the society who had struggled for the independence of judiciary. He said the country was proud of Aitzaz Ahsan, who was listed as one of the world`s most intelligent persons.
Earlier on arrival, the deposed chief justice was accorded a rousing welcome by the lawyers. Online adds: PML-N leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, who was not allowed to receive the chief justice at the VIP Lounge, received him at the airport.
A private TV channel reported that some PML-N activists had tried to force their way in but were resisted by the police, during which quite a few scuffles broke out and the police resorted to a mild baton charge. However, Javed Hashmi intervened successfully to restore peace.
Earlier before leaving for Multan, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan said that he had no “optimistic misconceptions” about the deadline for the restoration of the deposed judges.
Talking to journalists at the Lahore Airport, he said that the lawyers` movement was peaceful and 86 per cent people of the country wanted the restoration of chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. “The government wants to restore the deposed judges, but we don`t know about their timeframe,” he added.
He also told the journalists that the judiciary crisis had been discussed in a meeting held by the PPP in Islamabad on Thursday. However, lawyers would continue to stage protests on various important places as they were not hopeful about the deadline. He also said that decisions would be taken to make a new agenda on August 15.