LAHORE - Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has asked all the three organs of the state – judiciary, executive and legislature – to work in collaboration with one another to secure basic human rights of the people.
He said executive and legislature should play their role in making and implementing laws to curb extremism, sectarianism, terrorism, disappearances and extrajudicial killings. He noted that the judiciary had always tried to deliver by giving verdicts in accordance with the existing laws and procedure.
The chief justice said the Supreme Court, being the custodian of the Constitution, had the constitutional power of judicial review. In the constitutional history of Pakistan, the Supreme Court had exercised the power of judicial review at various times to check the constitutionality of state actions. “To do so, the judiciary has to be vigilant and play an active role,” he added.
Iftikhar Chaudhry said independence of judiciary was a sine qua non for the promotion of rule of law which was a basic substance of democracy and necessitated the supremacy of the Constitution, equality before law and equal protection of law. “It is the statutory and constitutional responsibility of the judiciary to safeguard the constitutional principles which provide for an effective enforcement of fundamental rights and clean and efficient system of governance,” he pointed out.
He held that the judiciary had a definite role to play for effective administration of justice, to decide disputes and give relief against unjust or arbitrary actions. The lawyers’ community had played a key role along with the civil society in securing independence of the judiciary in the post-November 3, 2007, scenario. After its restoration, the judiciary, with the support of the bar, had left no stone unturned to maintain its independence and prestige, he said, adding he was proud that the Pakistani judicial system was the strongest pillar of the state which enjoyed full confidence of other institutions as well as public at large.
The chief justice said the judges, lawyers and prosecutors were all integral parts of the justice system. They were supposed to adhere to the highest norms of integrity and professionalism to maintain prestige and honour of the judicial system, he held. “As compared to judges, lawyers and prosecutors have liberty to work freely and without fear of reprisal. They can become strong defenders of human rights and freedom at all times,” he said.
He said, lawyers, being highly educated class of professionals, were required to exhibit and adopt exemplary behaviour with judges, co-lawyers, prosecutors, officials and clients.
The lawyers needed to demonstrate an image of role model for others and, by dent of their knowledge and persuasive arguments, they could mould public opinion, he observed
Iftikhar Chaudhry expressed his confidence that lawyers would continue to act as a bulwark against constitutional excesses by any authority or institution as they had done in the past.