CJ says Pakistan is passing through a critical phase of its history

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Thursday said that Pakistan was passing through a critical phase of its history.

Thus, he said all state institutions and civil society should join hands for achieving the common goal of transforming Pakistan into a true welfare state by following principles of rule of law, fairness, accountability, transparency and supremacy of the constitution.

He was speaking at the full court reference held here on the eve of retirement of Justice Tariq Parvez. The chief justice said the incidents of kidnapping for ransom, abduction, target killing, forced disappearances, energy crises, corruption and nepotism, which were occurring daily, had crippled the socioeconomic development and shattered the confidence of public in the concerned state functionaries.

He said it was the need of the hour that authorities should work hard to rescue the democratic setup from being distorted in the backdrop of these social evils by devising workable mechanisms and adopting high ideals of democracy in order to bring peace and harmony in the country.

He said one vacancy already existed in the Supreme Court against which nomination of Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman had already been made, whereas another occurred on February 14, after retirement of Justice Tariq Parvez.

He said the High Courts throughout the country were already facing severe shortage of Judges, where additional appointments were required to be made to complete the strength of the benches.

He said the process of the appointment of suitable candidates for filling the vacancies in the superior courts must be expedited so that the fruits of the sure administration of justice are delivered to the general public, who have been long awaiting the results of their pending litigation before various legal fora.

He said the low strength of the judges in the superior and subordinate judiciary ultimately causes great discomfort and inconvenience to the litigant public seeking justice and redressal of their grievances in accordance with the law, as it has an effect of increasing case load and delaying the dispensation of relief.

He said the members of the bar are saddled with the responsibility of making substantial contribution in the process of judicial reforms, particularly in the context of making access to justice for all a reality.

He said a meeting of the Judicial Commission was held last month to consider the cases of confirmation of certain judges whose tenure as Additional Judges was near to completion, but the proceedings were not held, firstly to await the nominations of the bar councils and secondly, the Attorney General for Pakistan and the federal and provincial Law Ministers were also not present.

He said the meeting was postponed to enable these functionaries to attend it as well as the bar councils to make their nominations. However, by the next meeting, neither any nominations were received from the Pakistan Bar Council and the Punjab Bar Council nor did they said functionaries participate in the meeting.

Considering urgency of the matter, he said the Judicial Commission by majority finalized the nominations and forwarded the same to the Parliamentary Committee for further action in accordance with the Constitution.

He said nonparticipation by any of the members of the Commission deprives this body of valuable input in selecting the best and brightest to adore the benches, thus all the concerned stakeholders are expected to fulfil their constitutional obligation in the public interest. He said there was no doubt that delayed justice posed a serious threat and challenge to the civil and criminal justice system in Pakistan. He said the expeditious disposal of cases was a constitutional obligation and a laudable objective.

Appreciating the services of Justice Tariq Parvez, he said Justice Tariq Parvez was among that majority of the Judges of the superior courts who had refused to take oath before the military dictator in November 2007 and was made dysfunctional. He said after restoration of the judiciary, he was appointed as Supreme Court judge in 2009.

He said ever since taking oath as a judge on October 20, 2009, Justice Tariq Parvez had worked tirelessly to restore the rightful dignity and credibility of the Supreme Court.

Later, Justice Tariq Parvez, Attorney General Irfan Qadir, vice chairman Pakistan Bar Council and president Supreme Court Bar Association also read their papers at the ‘reference’.

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