The recently donned garb of judicial activism, under which our esteemed SC has been severely accused of transgressing into the territory of the executive, has taken on a more troublesome hue with the Chief Justice of Pakistan paying official visits to hospitals in Lahore and ‘reviewing the situation of healthcare’. Where the visit has been labelled by the social media as a blatant breach of constitutional provisions, the CJP’s public pledging of his vital organs to SIUT with a horde of photographers to conveniently commemorate the event is being further translated as nothing short of a gimmicky endeavor at self-promotion.

Where the politicisation of the role of the judiciary had of late been toeing blurred lines with its avid suo-moto notices and overall assumption of a more sanctimonious deportment, the CJP playing the role of the ambassador of justice in such a ceremonial capacity is a more blatant change of fronts that can be severely problematic in many ways for the polity.

Firstly, it contravenes the constitutionally defined roles of the judiciary and the CJP. Where suo moto discretions empower the CJP to take notice of issues like healthcare in a strictly adjudicatory capacity, they do not extend to official visitations, public briefings and patient checks that attempt to snag the public eye. Secondly, treading into such territory implicitly seeks to conflate the role of the CJP with that of an elected parliamentarian or minister, a move that violates the defined parameters of the designation and its authority.

Previously, for a rebuttal of the question of a ‘judicialisation of politics by the SC, the countering argument could hold its ground on the claim that hampered by a convoluted and weighted bureaucracy and in a flawed political system, the judiciary simply HAD to intervene in the sphere of politics to take remunerative action. However, the current situation highlights the trumpeted politicisation of the role of the CJP more specifically, a move that stands to compromise the bearing and authority of the entire judicial process if allowed to foment further.