It was disconcerting to watch a federal minister pour scorn on the judiciary with a zeal that could not be quelled even by reminders that his qualification for candidacy in the next general elections could be put under serious scrutiny, besides his almost certain sacking from the ministry. His words have hurt the sentiments of this rejuvenated Pakistan which idolizes the judiciary. The constitutional matters aside, the judiciary has struck a fine chord with the people through its verdict over the missing persons case. The release of two abducted men has proved the sensitivity of an institution towards the plight of the helpless and the downtrodden, and we have many of them in this country today.
It was reported that Sher Afghan had just attended a high level meeting when he was called on the TV show. Taking it from there, one can smell something fishy behind his statement. Why would such a senior politician (wouldn’t call him seasoned, though) risk his political career in a bout of “sincere” and “honest” commentary on the Supreme court verdict? In my personal opinion, the government is probably preparing ground for some showdown with the judiciary. It can’t afford to just reject the verdict in the charged atmosphere of Pakistan, as it is today and so it is relying on these sparks to let the people know that the government is not too happy with the judicial activism, as they like to call it mockingly. So as not to drop a bombshell on the masses, the government has resorted to this tactic to make any disastrous step acceptable if not desirable. The government ministers are going to continue referring back to Sher Afghan’s blabber about the judiciary being pressurized by the public and stuff like that and very conveniently disown it too, but nevertheless keep the issue alive. No wonder, Wasi Zafar also talked at length about Sher Afghan’s remarks in the same TV show a few days later.
A retired justice of the Supreme court puts it a little differently. He opines that the Supreme Court’s notice of Sher Afghan’s contempt might be used as an excuse by the executive to take some serious action, emergency or worse, by terming it a tussle between the executive and the judiciary. Hope the conspiracy theories are just a farce and things continue to run in the favor of constitutionalism.
Anyways, the blabber was just sour grapes. As an advocate of the Supreme Court put it, the government’s case wasn’t even worth a five minute hearing. Didn’t we hear all eminent lawyers and former judges give their learned opinion on the matter before the case had been filed. Afterall, it’s time collective wisdom said something too.