Pakistan’s judiciary has never been the target of criticism as severe as it is today. However, this doesn’t mean that it has been unbiased in the past or that its decisions were made on merit. We cannot simply claim that all the political and civil judgements made at any tier of the judiciary have been free, fair or on merit. Neither can it be said that justice has been dispensed on time and in letter and spirit.In fact, the only difference today, is the presence of a vibrant and dynamic media. Every decision, act or statement of any member of the judiciary is spotted and discussed then and there. Thanks to social media, the controversy goes viral in no time. This has an impact on mass opinion-making, and builds or strengthen certain perceptions and perspectives. Unfortunately, the general perception of the judicial system has turned negative, to the extent that the judiciary is a seriously despised institution for many. The judges have earned this through their controversial verdicts, conduct and statements. Today, the judiciary — considered by many the last hope for the masses — is the most controversial it has ever been. It has left no option for the general public to believe that judiciary is no better than any Pakistani political figure known for his or her malpractices.In the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan, an elderly man levels allegations against the Chief Justice of Pakistan for personal grievances and for a long-pending case of his dispute with the Capital Development Authority (CDA). Instead of giving him a rational hearing, he was thrown out of the court by officials on the instructions of the Chief Justice (CJ) Saqib Nisar. This is all fine, but what about the video clips going viral on the social media in which he is narrating his story against the CJ of Pakistan and talk about notorious acts of his father, a lawyer. Surely, we will not accept the video-clip as it is. But the damage this has done to impartial, free and fair judiciary cannot be disregarded.The controversial decision of the Khadija Siddiqui case has marred a young female student’s two year long struggle for justice. She was stabbed multiple times. Acquittal of the convict in this case speaks of the havoc a judge’s verdict can play. Giving undue relaxation to Rao Anwar, the notorious encounter ‘specialist’ police officer, is another awful decision by the judiciary. It is reprehensible that he has not been sent to jail for the allegations against him, but has instead been placed under a very comfortable house arrestCJ Saqib Nisar has taken notice of the acquittal of Shah Hussain, the man who was convicted for stabbing Khadija Siddiqui in 2016. The CJ has summoned the case record and fixed the matter for hearing on June 10 in the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry.On June 4, the LHC acquitted Shah Hussain after accepting an appeal against his five-year sentence. Khadija Siddiqui had appealed to the CJP to take notice of her case after the LHC acquitted Shah Hussain, the son of a prominent lawyer, who was sentenced to seven years in jail for assaulting Khadija Siddiqui. Later, the sessions court had reduced his sentenced to four years. I am sure the Khadija Siddiqui case is not the first one in which initially the justice was delayed because of the flawed-system of judicial process, and then, the conduct of the judge. Strangely, we are ‘blessed’ with countless such unfortunate situations and incidents. I can’t presume that the judiciary is unaware of the increasing citizens’ trust-deficit and anger against the judge-lawyer nexus that doesn’t only cause long delays in dispensing justice, but also compromising or denying it due the connivance of lawyers and judges.Another case in point is the Mashal Khan case. The victim, a Mardan University student, was killed over a fake allegation of blasphemy, whereas what he was actually doing was highlighting the corruption of the university administration. Because justice was denied, the whistle-blower lost his life and his family was denied the right to live peacefully in their country. The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday ruled that former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, disqualified for life, can conditionally file his nomination papers to contest the general elections on July 25. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar, also directed the 74-year-old Musharraf, currently based in Dubai, to appear before the court on June 13.The bench resumed the hearing of Musharraf’s review petition against his disqualification for life by the Peshawar high court in 2013. Directing Musharraf to appear before its Lahore registry, the apex court also assured that he will not be arrested by the government.Musharraf, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) chief, has been living in Dubai since March 2016 after leaving the county on medical grounds, as he claims, with the support of former Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. He is facing a high-profile treason case and has been declared an absconder due to his persistent failure to appear before the special trial court set up to try him in the case.Giving undue relaxation to Rao Anwar, the notorious encounter ‘specialist’ police officer, is another awful decision by the judiciary. He attends case-hearings as if he was a national hero, not a murderer accused of killing hundreds. It is reprehensible that he has not been sent to jail for the allegations against him, but has instead been placed under a very comfortable house arrest.Having seen the deteriorating justice system in Pakistan and flourishing nexuses of the judiciary with criminals, one can easily presume that soon the judiciary will also initiate a campaign for the restoration of its public image, as is now being done by the military bureaucracy and civilian politicians. The time is around the corner when allegation contempt of court will be the pride of active, sensitive and sensitised citizens, and abusive language for judges will be the hallmark of protesting voices.The writer is an Islamabad-based policy advocacy, strategic communication and outreach expert. He can be reached at email@example.com. He tweets @EmmayeSyedPublished in Daily Times, June 11th 2018.