LAHORE: Justice (retd) Wajih-ud-Din has urged the new coalition government to reinstate the deposed judges of the Supreme Court and all provincial High Courts before a one-month deadline given to the political parties by the lawyers in order to avoid any conspiracies which can exasperate the situation further.
Addressing a seminar titled ‘Constitutional Role of Judiciary’ at Punjab University Law College, Wajih said he was contented with the positive step taken by newly-elected Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani by lifting restrictions on the free movement of the deposed judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Over the issue of fate of those judges who had taken oath under the PCO after November3, 2007, he said references should be sent against those judges who took oath under the PCO after November 3, 2007 in the Supreme Judicial Council, as the seven judges of the Supreme Court had already issued verdict before November 3, 2007 that taking oath under the PCO would be against the spirit of the Constitution of the country.
He said that there was also a widespread rumour that Chief Justice Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry was being offered to have the status of a judge at International Court of Justice (ICJ) if he would agree to leave his office of the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Lawyers’ movement leader and Supreme Court Advocate Hamid Khan said this movement for the independence of judiciary would see culmination when all the deposed judges would be reinstated by the new coalition government. He said the civil bureaucracy and top military brass had always tried to hamper the smooth progress of democracy in the country, and the feudal elites had also strengthened their hands in this nefarious design. He said the military had also trampled the democratic wishes of the people when first martial law was imposed by dictator Ayub Khan in 1958.
Punjab University Law College Principal Ashfaq Ahmed said the institutions were an integral part of any state, and the judiciary always helped strengthen the other state organs, including executive and legislature as well.
He said the movement for independence of judiciary was first started in the country when Sindh High Court in Maulvi Tameez-ud-Din Khan case declared Malik Ghulam Muhammad Mirza’s decision regarding the dissolution of the first constituent assembly as null and void which, later, was set aside by the then Federal Court of Pakistan.
Punjab University Philosophy Department Head Professor Dr Sajjad Ali said that 2007 had proved as a crucial step in the struggle of democracy for the people of the country, as Supreme Court Chief Justice Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry had refused to bow before a uniformed President while sitting at Army General Head Quarter in Rawalpindi. He said the independence of judiciary and supremacy of Constitution was vital for protection of fundamental rights of citizens in any state.
Supreme Court Senior Advocate Zia Ullah Khan said the movement had encompassed all the sections of society, including students, civil society, teachers and other civil society’s organizations. He maintained that United States could not save Musharraf’s political destiny, as the people of Pakistan themselves had started formulating their own policies which could prove vital for making the country a true democratic state.
Lahore High Court Bar President Anwar Kamal said the Constitution of any state was, in fact, a written form of social contract which specified rights and responsibilities of the citizens, living in any particular state. He said the Constitution also helped maintain equilibrium in all organs of a state. He said the dictators and other non-democratic forces had disturbed this equilibrium in Pakistan by amending the constitutions for their own vested interests in the political history of the country.
He welcomed the newly-elected Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani while ordering for the end of illegal confinement of the deposed judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan who had been put under house arrest after promulgation of emergency on November 3, 2007. Struggle for independence had always enlivened the people of any state, he said while adding that lawyers’ movement for independence of judiciary had also given the same contentment and sense of relief to the common man of this country.