Judgments should speak for judges

The eventful tenure of honourable retired chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar came to an end on Thursday, January 17, 2019. A ceremony was held in his honour, where Supreme Court (SC) Justice Asif Saeed Khosa was next in line of succession. The incoming CJP’s view on Article 184(3) of the Constitution is extremely important considering Justice Nisar’s liberal use of suo moto – which is an extraordinary relief – dominated conversation on the judiciary during his tenure.

During his address to full court reference for the outgoing CJP, Justice Khosa told the gathering about the way he intended to lead the judiciary. He said he would also like to build some dams -dams against undue and unnecessary delays in judicial determination of cases, a dam against frivolous litigation and a dam against fake witnesses and false testimonies. He, as the new CJP, would also try to retire debt – the debt of pending cases which must be decided at the earliest possible. Justice Khosa anticipated that some of the steps to be taken in these areas may face some resistance or reluctance from those who are used to the old ways. But, he said, he was sure that results to be achieved would convince all concerned about the utility and usefulness of such steps.

Justice Khosa assured the audience that steps would be taken in the best interests of the institution of the judiciary and in all manner of circumstances the intent would be to prefer to be correct and proper. He remarked that the suo moto exercise under the constitution would be used sparingly and only in respect of larger issues of national importance. In this context, he highlighted a growing need for appropriate amendments to Supreme Court rules’ and other required steps. Justice Khosa proposed a charter of governance to end encroachment upon each other’s domain by the organs of the State.

Courts can deliver effectively and efficiently if policing in Pakistan significantly changes and the police performance is visible. A recent report on police functioning has rightly identified that the police force lacks proper training in dealing with emergencies or crisis situations

Importance and significance of the principle and concept of separation of powers and independence and inter-relatedness of institutions as well as mutual interdependence, have to be kept in view if we are for good governance and accountability.

How to deal with the problems which courts regard as the exclusive discretion of the executive or legislative branches is a political question. The SC is advised not to deal with political questions.

Self-serving agendas do not promote national aspirations and public interest. What is happening around is against national interests of Pakistan. Forces destabilizing the government and damaging the image of the state must be taken to task. Immaturity and incapacity cause problems and issues contributing to lack of cooperation. There is a need to understand the meaning of people’s representation and the right to govern. We need to correct wrongs, all wrongs. But there is a method in your madness.

Distasteful behaviours, inequalities, injustice, conflicts, tensions, poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, diseases, deceits and crimes are all consequences of feudalism and feudalistic attitudes, directly or indirectly. At times human society appears to be an exact duplicate of the animal world. Thankfully, humans have started to understand that rights and obligations go together. There is a difference between achievements and ascription of someone. Universalism is better than particularism in decisions and actions. Merit has to be the base of all decisions. Strengthening the education system will make reform possible.

Thankfully, emotional detachment empowers the people to confidently uncover more and more. Engaging by choice, not by demand, enables one to dig deeper than ever. We should welcome thoughts and feelings. Let them out unhindered, and work with them and empower them to affect change. Focus on possibilities of success, not the potential for failure. Stay close to reality; make sure your imagination is used not to escape reality, but to create it.

A nation that stops debating and rethinking leaves no space for new ideas to emerge. It is not a way forward. In fact, it blocks creativity and Innovativeness required for progress and development.

We need a general theory of modern organization which can explain the behaviour commonly observed in our bureaucracies. Organisational behaviour is in large part institutional in nature and is to be explained by the analysis of the system of order in which behaviour occurs.

A modern bureaucratic organisation is a composite of the traditional and the new. Upon hierarchy of arbitrary authority have been superimposed increasingly technical and instrumental forms of specialization. While a technical specialization advances at a rapid rate, cultural definitions of authority roles do not. The resulting insecurity and friction give rise to bureaucratic practices in the pathological sense termed ‘bureaupathic behaviour’. Conformity, dependence on regulations and quantitative standards and the need to control are some of the forms of ‘bureaupathic behaviour’.

Courts can deliver effectively and efficiently if policing in Pakistan significantly changes and the police performance is visible. A recent report on police functioning has rightly identified that the police force lacks proper training in dealing with emergencies or crisis situations. This creates implication in the context of functions, including prevention of crimes as well as protection of lives of people and their belongings. It is good to learn from mistakes. It is about time to equip police force not only with modern tools and techniques to apprehend criminals but also to recognise the importance of the value of human life.

Rule of the situation is important to judge and decide. It is rather disappointing to know that police in Pakistan believes in brute force to catch criminals or lawbreakers. The reliance on and display of force by police has often ended up in encounters. The government needs to ensure that the police force is equipped with pistols or hand-guns to deal with issues of street crimes. The police in many countries are allowed to carry pistol only for patrolling purposes and apprehending criminals.

The writer is former National Institute of Public Administration director, a political analyst, a public policy expert, and a published author. His book Post 9/11 Pakistan was published in the United States. His book Existential Question for Pakistan was recently launched and highly recommended as a must read for everyone

Published in Daily Times, January 22nd 2019.

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