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The War Within Islam ( 19 Jun 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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An Open Letter to My Lord, the Chief Justice of Pakistan


By Yasser Latif Hamdani

June 18, 2012

My Lord’s legacy is secure in the succession plan that will follow. What is more, this nation needs My Lord to play a role in active politics!

My Lord,

I write to your Lordship as a lawyer who participated in a meagre capacity in the Lawyers’ Movement. We stood up then for the Supreme Court of Pakistan because in your Lordship we found a chief justice who was willing to say ‘no’ to the demands of a military dictator. When history is recorded, your Lordship will be credited as being responsible for initiating and executing the end game for Pakistan’s last military dictator and for laying the foundation of sustainable constitutional civilian rule in Pakistan. Therefore, your Lordship’s place in history is assured and unshakeable.

It is therefore now that I, in my humble capacity as a mere practitioner of law in the High Courts of our Republic, pen this letter to your Lordship to address my concerns at the recent events, which threaten to shake the very foundation of the revolution the great Lawyers’ Movement brought about in the history of this country. The adage “Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion” is most appropriate for us to ponder over. My Lord will no doubt realise that there are two opinions in this country regarding the matter. The first opinion is that there is a grave conspiracy brewing against the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the second opinion is one that is unfavourable to your Lordship’s position and reputation. I do not wish to go into the controversy of which opinion is the majority opinion in the country. However, what is clear is that the existence of these two opinions is itself indicative of the fact that the powers that be have now manipulated the situation to an extent that your Lordship’s good name has been brought into controversy and as the saying goes, Caesar’s wife is no longer above suspicion. Your Lordship’s detractors ask inconvenient and pinching questions from your Lordship’s committed supporters like this author. They say that turning a blind eye to Mr Arsalan Iftikhar’s sudden material enrichment over the last three years is a gross breach of the faith that the nation has displayed in Your Lordship. Whichever way one tries to defend Mister Justice’s position, one is forced to make unsavoury comparisons with mere politicians like Mr Asif Ali Zardari and Mr Yousaf Raza Gilani. This is an unacceptable situation.

My Lord has presided over a fiercely independent and competent Supreme Court of Pakistan. My Lord does not face the dilemma that historical figures have faced in the past, i.e. absence of a second tier as good as the first. The Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan now has a remarkable pool of talent, competence and most importantly integrity. The credit wholly solely goes to your Lordship who has managed to reinvigorate and revitalise the Supreme Court and redeem it from the misery that was afflicted upon it by the previous courts. Your Lordship therefore has played the part providence had demarcated for His Honour with great dignity and unbounded grace. I shudder to think that the last year of My Lord’s remarkable judicial career be tainted with allegations relegating My Lord to the status of a flawed public figure like General Musharraf. What is more is the damage that would be done to the honour of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, our august apex fountain of justice. Is it then not time for My Lord to consider calling it a day? It is left to My Lord to set yet another unprecedented precedent in our history. After all, to quote a popular film, one can either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain. My Lord’s legacy is secure in the succession plan that will follow. What is more, this nation needs My Lord to play a role in active politics! The nation wants its hero to become the head of state and a symbol of this federation through the next presidential elections. The basic principles on which our constitution is laid requires that your Lordship transform from a judicial role to an executive one, from your Lordship to your Excellency. This transition is required to ensure probity and independence at the highest levels of our republic.

A conspiracy is afoot no doubt. The conspiracy is a very serious one. It is not aimed at removing your Lordship from the high office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The conspiracy is to malign and impugn that very office. My Lord has the historic opportunity to outflank and outwit this band of conspirators originating in the deepest pockets of the deep state and its dubious financiers like the fellow who has insulted your Lordship in public. What is at stake is Pakistan’s future! Our children’s future! The future of democracy in Pakistan is at stake. My Lord holds the keys. The nation once again looks towards its robed statesman to make a judgment call that will help restore the balance between institutions.


A well-wisher and a supporter

Yasser Latif Hamdani is a practising lawyer