Protecting state institutions

The term ‘favourite’ is being used for Imran Khan (IK). While tours are conducted of the ransacked Jinnah House, the devastation at the IHC by the charging men in uniform is not shown on the electronic media.
When the country came under the fourth martial law several senior judges including the CJP refused to take oath, thus they were sent home by the usurper. When Musharraf tried to arbitrarily get rid of his own appointed CJP, the Lawyers Movement started in March 2007. It was called the Movement for Rule of Law. Civil society also came on the streets which led to the weakening of the power of the dictator and ultimately his exit together with the restoration of Iftikhar Chaudhry as CJP. The judiciary not only gained independence it also restored its credibility at times even overstepping its domain.
The institutional collapse that Pakistan faces today is mind-boggling. There was a time when institutional heads stood up for their institutions quite like force chiefs. In the 1965 Presidential elections Ayub Khan wanted to organize a Jalsa on the University grounds near Chauburji. Prof Hamid Ahmed Khan the Vice-Chancellor (VC) asked for a security deposit of Rs 400,000, the amount spent on preparing the cricket pitch on the ground. The dictator was very angry with the defiance of the VC and denied him an extension in service. When the student protests started after the 1965 war Police entered the University premises without permission. Prof U. Karamat the VC resigned in protest. When Justice M. R. Kiani was the CJ of Lahore High Court, a Tear Gas shell landed inside the premises of the court. The IG (Inspector General) was asked to appear in court for contempt proceedings against him. He was let go after a written apology.
On the attack on the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on May 09, 2023, when the Rangers entered the court premises the Interior Minister was Rana Sanaullah. When Maulana Fazal-Ur-Rehman broke through the barriers of the Red Zone to reach outside the gate of the SC, Rana Sahib did not invoke Article 245 to call in the Army to protect the judges. In 2014 during the PTI Dharna, the then Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan did call the Army for the protection of vital state institutions on Constitution Avenue.
Vandalism in any form is condemnable, be it the Army Installations or the Courts of Law. So far no action has been taken against the siege of the courts where people go to seek justice. The courts are the custodians of the Constitution and the enshrined human rights. I urge the Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court to call the DG Rangers and Chairman NAB (National Accountability Bureau) for breach of the sanctity of the court. The CJP is also curious to know why the protesters came to the gates of the court to make loud speeches to be heard inside. The President PDM and the Interior Minister must be summoned by the court to be heard for possible redressal of their grievances. Instead of Street and Media trials perhaps the courts provide a better forum to resolve and address the injustices and gross violations of the rule of law that the nation finds itself engulfed with today.

The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation, email:

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