Judicial Sanctity

The spate of anthrax-laced letters sent to the judges of the IHC and SC has made motives very clear. This is a direct assault on our most esteemed courts, and this is now a defining moment in the legacy of our nation’s judicial system.

Targeting judges with such extreme tactics is a calculated attempt to influence judicial decisions, but it also reveals a logical reasoning behind the assault as well. Our judiciary holds an immense amount of power and influence, and this is why it is being targeted. Those seeking to undermine its independence are betting on our judicia­ry to submit to these intimidation tactics, and that is precisely why our institution must put its foot down now. Not only has this attack exposed the vulnerability of our judiciary but it may have also set a disturbing precedent for future disruptions. Justice against these attackers must be taken at all costs so we can send a clear message that our judicial system is not something to be trifled with. We sim­ply cannot afford to have a judiciary operating with fear. Upholding its integrity and shielding it from external pressures are absolutely essential for correct decision-making at this crucial juncture.

CJP Qazi Faez Isa’s “zero tolerance” for these attacks and his call for a full court session to address this issue is the firm stance the public expects to see against such an egregious attack on our judi­cial autonomy. The CJP’s insistence on institutions operating strict­ly within their boundaries for this case reflects what an existential moment this is for our judiciary and its integrity. The future of the nation’s justice system depends on the outcome of this battle, and it is good that our institution understands this. The CJP’s attitude is that of a general heading into a battle, and that is how this issue must be faced – head-on.

As the judiciary confronts these challenges, the independent com­mission’s inquiry into the letters must remain uninterrupted and con­clude in its given time. We cannot let these assaults distract us from the objective at hand. Accountability is indispensable in addressing this issue, and the findings of this investigation should be made pub­lic as part of our judicial process. The judiciary owes it to the people of Pakistan to see how this story unfolds, because it will affect every Pakistani’s perception of our justice system moving forward.

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