DESPARDES — A silent revolution has come in the judiciary, said Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa Khosa on Wednesday, while acknowledging that no institution is perfect.
He added: “Do not compare us to the judiciary that existed before 2009; the judiciary after that year is different, independent. For us, no one is big, small or powerful.
“Do you not remember that we convicted a prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) and disqualified another prime minister (Yousuf Raza Gilani)?” Chief Justice Khosa said, and added: “The case concerning a chief of army staff is going to be decided soon.”
The Chief Justice highlighted that a total of 3,100 judges and magistrates had decided 3.6 million cases last year. And except for one or two, all of the litigants who were given relief by the judiciary belonged to the weak and downtrodden classes, he added.
Justice Khosa said if a certain individual gets a lot of projection in the media, it should not be taken to mean that the 3.6m other people whose cases were decided by the judiciary should be forgotten.
“To say that there is some imbalance [in how the powerful and the weak are treated by the judiciary] … it should be reconsidered,” he stressed.
“Whatever social segments criticize our judges should be a little cautious because they (judges) are working hard day and night,” the top judge said. “Encourage them rather than criticizing them.”
Using its current resources, the judiciary has ended the 25-year backlog of criminal appeals in the Supreme Court while, thanks to model courts, no murder trial is pending in 17 districts of the country, the top judge said.
“[The judges] are burning their midnight oil with no extra expense. We did not ask the government for a penny. […] We did not ask the parliament for any amendment to laws or additional budgetary allocation.”
The country’s top judge was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of a communication and infrastructure improvement to facilitate the courts, litigants and lawyers.
His remarks came as former PM Nawaz Sharif left in a high-end air ambulance for treatment abroad.
The top judge clarified the permission to go abroad was granted to Nawaz by the prime minister and the Lahore High Court (LHC) had only set the modalities.