The Abject Surrender of Pakistan’s Top Court

“For a court leadership that has been an aggressive proponent of transparency and openness (think live streaming), this was a remarkable moment to choose to go private.”

Sameer Khosa at Arab News: Then of course, there is the stark lack of action. The Supreme Judicial Council has been an active body this entire year. It is inconceivable that the information laid before the Council in the letter by the judges does not constitute “information” laid before the Council for the purposes of Article 209 of the Constitution. Yet, the Supreme Court press release is silent on whether the Council has initiated any inquiry against the Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court.

The fact is that the letter written by the judges of the IHC presented a golden opportunity for the Supreme Court. The Supreme Judicial Council could have commenced an inquiry against the judge whose conduct is brought into question by his peers. There was nothing stopping the acceptance of the request of the judges to call a judicial convention to gather testimony about interference in judicial work. Based on the findings of the convention, the Court could have initiated suo motu proceedings in open court. If at all, the PM had to be spoken to, he could have been summoned to court, instead of met privately.

One wonders why instead of asserting the independence of the judiciary, the leadership of the Court has surrendered it. It is all very well to write letters from the rafters when others are at the helm. But when the moment presents itself, it is as someone once said: “If you can’t stand the heat, don’t be in the kitchen.”

More here.