Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Sunday said that if a court decision was not challenged, it was considered as final, which should be implemented in any circumstances. Addressing a ceremony held in connection with minorities’ rights in Lahore, the CJP said that if the courts’ judgments were not appealed, or no review was filed on time, that means no one had any objection on that judgment. If a review was filed, then it was heard because no judgment was binding unless it becomes final. But if it was not challenged, then it was considered as final, he observed. The CJP said “If we stand by the constitution, then we have to support the Supreme Court,” adding that protection of the Constitution was a primary responsibility of every Pakistani. The court decisions had a moral authority, he asserted. Justice Bandial said that he was optimistic that people, leaders and institutions of the country were committed to the Constitution. In this context, the apex court was informed that political leaders of the country had agreed to start negotiations, which had not concluded yet. “Let’s see what will happen now,” the CJP said, adding that the SC had nothing to do with that, but, at least, the political leaders were conscious that they had a duty to comply with the constitution. Justice Bandial said that if the constitution declared 90 days for holding elections, it was the court’s duty to say it, so it was not a matter of choice. “It was our duty to preserve, protect and defend the constitution,” he remarked. He said that the courts could not pass executive orders; however, the decisions of the courts had moral authority, maintaining that “we have no existence individually, but our existence is as a unit and a constitutional organ, that’s how we function”. The CJP said that judges should have qualities like Justice AR Cornelius to provide justice, as Justice Cornelius’ life was an example for other judges to follow. Justice AR Cornelius was the Chief Justice of Pakistan from 1960 to 1968, and when he retired, he had no assets. Justice Cornelius gave 17 years to the Supreme Court and was a pioneer of the judicial system, he added. Justice Bandial said that Justice AR Cornelius declared the Governor General’s dissolution of the assembly as illegal, adding that Justice AR Cornelius mentioned that the executive officer could not decide the fundamental rights. The CJP said that in 1964, two provinces banned Jamaat-e-Islami, and the ban was lifted in the Maulana Maududi case. Justice AR Cornelius said it was a matter of basic human rights. He said that under the Constitution, everyone including minorities have complete religious freedom, saying that the Constitution guaranteed protection of rights of minorities. “Our Constitution says that everyone is free to profess their religion, and all citizens have equal rights and yet for years, our minorities have felt discriminated against, marginalised and sidelined,” he regretted. No citizen could be denied admission to educational institutions which received funds from the public revenue on grounds of race, cast and religion, he added. The CJP regretted that the country lost 80,000 citizens due to extremism and terrorism during the last three decades.