Pakistan’s current political mess needs desperate healing, and in a culture where responsibility-driven-resignations are without precedent, the most prudent way forward should see all principal players bury differences for the moment and work for the betterment of the country, and indeed the whole region.
Justice Chaudhry must realise more than anyone else in the drama that the judiciary he has come back to is one whose track record of justice delivery is not very encouraging. But since it snapped into constructive action when it faced an existential crisis, the momentum should not be allowed to peter out. The CJ will justify the people’s support and stand truly vindicated only if he undertakes judicial reforms on war-footing, and goes about tackling the mammoth backlog of cases that keeps impartiality and righteousness about as far from the common man as the rulers’ concerns from his.
However, it is important to note the near future will not exactly bring smooth sailing for Pakistan’s polity, whose fortunes echo with good reason not only across Asia, but much beyond. It is not clear if General Musharraf’s plan of re-election by present assemblies has run into a wall, or if his dual-office status already stands encircled. And though government’s initial reaction has been one of caution – respecting the judicial decision – it still remains to be seen if more friction will come with the coming days.
For General Musharraf, though, the decision brings considerable loss of face, especially considering his confident assertion shortly after the reference that he would tell the whole nation of the CJ’s excesses upon delivery of the verdict. From the talk coming from Islamabad in those days, especially the very vocal law minister, it seemed the government had absolutely no doubts about the validity of its case.But now things stand at a very different juncture, not only because of the CJ case going against the government, but also because the country stands practically under siege by extremists, with the suicide-bombing death toll rising by the day. At the risk of repetition, the only pragmatic way forward for the country is for all parties to involve in constructive work. And for the judiciary, there’s hardly anything more pressing than getting its own house in order, lest it loses the goodwill generated within the people, and that too for continued want of delivery of their most basic right – justice.