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Pakistan: Chief Justice Castigates Judiciary for Faults and Failings

(Apr. 26, 2011) In an effort to remove misconceptions about the judiciary, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, speaking at the Fourth National Judicial Conference, criticized the district judiciary for dealing with serious offenses in a cursory and casual manner, but defended it against undue criticism for acting against executive measures by stating that it has a constitutional responsibility to regulate the state machinery.

The Chief Justice stated, “[i]f the judiciary is vibrant, dynamic and independent, it will not only provide strength to other institutions of the state but also establish our credentials in the comity of nations.” (Nasir Iqbal, CJ Tries to Dispel Misgivings About Judiciary, THE DAWN (Apr. 25, 2011).) He cited a case, which he asked the Lahore Chief Justice to look into, in which a judicial officer in Punjab Province examined 13 witnesses in a murder case when both the complainant and the prosecution were absent. In connection with other cases, the Chief Justice said, three inmates had described their mistreatment by the police and a corrupt judicial system. One of the inmates said all his male family members, including his ailing father, had been detained in a murder case in which one person was killed. As a result, he stated, his entire family had been ruined, as all the men were in jail, and the case has not moved in the justice system at all. Such cases, the Chief Justice said, should be decided in six months. He therefore “warned the judicial officers to ensure monitoring and behave in a manner expected of them,” because the kinds of abuses of the system in the cases he had described tarnished the image of the entire judiciary. (Id.)

The Chief Justice also suggested suo moto action be taken to implement judgment to regulate the quality of education in the law colleges. As part of his concluding remarks, he stated “the judiciary is an important pillar and the backbone of the state” and a strong state needs an independent judiciary, which is possible “only if all the stakeholders show an absolute commitment, dedication, character, [and] professionalism … .” (Id.)