The Panama Case Proceedings – An Interim Report


I have always held that those who have the power to do good, but fail to do so, are just as guilty as those who have the power to stop evil but look the other way.

The hearing of the Panama Case has again been postponed till the first week of January 2017 without even making clear whether this matter will be decided by the Supreme Court or the ball will be kicked to a Commission. When the Supreme Court meets again next year it will be meeting under a newly minted Chief Justice, Justice Saqib Nisar who has been recently appointed to wear the robe of the next CJ by Nawaz Sharif, the man whose political and financial fate and that of his family, is the subject of these proceedings. Isn’t this an irony in itself?

The incumbent Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali of whom much righteousness was expected has maneuvered to equivocate and dilly dally his way out of making a decision. Passing a judgment, which could have been a landmark judgment, a judgment that could have corrected the moral and ethical compass of political governance in Pakistan. Rarely does such an opportunity come to an individual to stamp his imprint on the legal history and jurisprudence of a country for decades to come, an opportunity to rectify the historical perception that Pakistan’s judicial system is a handmaiden of the Chief Executive and sadly, nothing more than his master’s voice.

I hope the outgoing Chief Justice will enjoy his leave preparatory to retirement (LPR), his retired life, the plot of land that may have been allotted to him. May he enjoy the rose garden and the orchard that he may intend to cultivate and all the other post retirement benefits at the end of a career, which I am sure he will consider a great success. From humble beginnings to CJ is undoubtedly a great achievement.

Whether he made a difference to the lives of the people of Pakistan or how the judicial system functions in this land of the pure, or to the governance of this country, about which he had shown so much empathy, is a different matter. Apparently, that was not his brief!

Monitoring the proceedings from thousands of miles away in a foreign country, an overseas Pakistani felt defeated, dejected, that the supreme court had again, by failing to rise to the occasion and instead shrinking into oblivion and obscurity, failed the land that we call home, and we, its people.

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