One side of the picture says:
“Mr. A has been in District Jail Jhelum since 1999. He has been awaiting a trial and verdict for the last 19 years. The end of his journey is not near.”
“SC ordered the release of a prisoner amid lack of evidence, while jail authorities informed he died years ago”
“When Sheikh Abdul Waheed purchased a commercial plot in Lahore in an auction on Nov 11, 1956, he didn’t realize that he would never get possession of the land. Six decades later, litigation over the plot is stuck in the Supreme Court.”
And the list goes on and on, over 1.8 million cases are pending in Pakistan ‘s courts whereby people have been waiting for justice for decades.
The second side of the picture says:
Recently, newspapers and TV channels have been flooded with the news of CJ P visiting various places in-person and giving on-spot orders. The main targets have been hospitals, colleges, and prisons, to name a few. Apparently, there is nothing wrong with this approach and it seems workable and appealing to the masses. For a layman, this is the most effective solution to all the woes he has been facing at the hands of tyrant staff members of the said facilities. The consequences and output are also very quick amid the wrath of CJP and potential punishment the accused staff might face. However, as the saying goes, “the closer you look, the less you see.
Analysts and critics have very rightly pointed out the fact that though this is an appealing approach undertaken by the CJP, in the long-run, the achieved outcomes will eventually become difficult to sustain. Take the example of a hospital in Lahore to which CJP paid a visit. Fair enough. But, isn’t there already a set mechanism to address the issues related to health woes. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to amend the system dealing with the health and hospital issues? A proper vision, policy or an independent audit from a third party to check the progress? Or does it look more appealing than a sitting CJP standing in the center of the ward and enquiring about affairs of the hospital? The proper and effective method would have been a reformation of the health system. CJP is one of the highest and most respected ranks of the country, he has just to speak a word, and it will become an order for the coming years and generations. The current trend he is trying to set is temporary in nature, with his retirement, what is the guarantee that next CJP will continue on his line of making surprise visits?
Furthermore, time and again, the concerned stakeholders have pointed out to bring his house (Judiciary) in order first. There is so much that needs to be done in judicial reforms. There are thousands of pending cases in the SC alone and with one day’s absence of CJP from his office, just imagine the condition of those who have to return without being heard or getting justice from the SC. The work he is doing is no doubt essential for the future; his intentions are not a point of debate here, only the path he has taken is unsustainable. Reform the system by making policies and rules and regulations that will last longer than verbal directives being given at the spot. Every system needs a reformation; be it health, judiciary or education for that matter, but this should be done through the proper mechanism and by using already established institutions. There is no point in increasing the burden on already over-burdened shoulders of the judiciary.
Likewise, too many “Suo Mottos” taken show the poor performance of concerned institutions. Hence “Suo Motto” should be reserved for extreme level cases in which all other options have failed so that its sanctity remains intact. Otherwise, the victim and the accused will take it as normal routine activity and the files will end up in the basket. Besides this, there is a need to revamp the existing laws e.g. PPC 186 0, CRPC 1898, Police Rules 1934 and Qanoon.e.Shaddat 1984. There are many loopholes when it comes to prosecution and use of laws that let the culprits escape easily. Therefore, CJP should start his journey from making much needed and awaited reforms in the judiciary. Once judiciary is reformed, trials will be decided quickly.
Hence, concerned institutions and their heads should be tasked to improve their performance while the honorable CJP should divert his focus to the much needed judicial reforms. Only in this way a sustainable development of various institutions and delivery of justice can be ensured for the masses. Otherwise, with the departure of CJP, his vision will die its own death if not implemented in letter and spirit. And most importantly, there is already an ongoing dispute regarding the jurisdiction and conflict of interests of different institutions including the parliament and SC, therefore, this conflict should not be allowed to strengthen or the general public will have to suffer. Let every institution do his job, build its capacity and in the end be accountable to the SC and people of Pakistan as well. Long live Pakistan.