Justice Markandey Katju: Long live the chief justice of Peshawar High Court

Justice Markandey Katju

By Justice Markandey Katju–

I have always admired the Pathans. Though poor, they prefer death to dishonor and slavery. Their country (currently much of Afghanistan and North Western Pakistan called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly known as NWFP) was invaded by Alexander the Great, as well as by the mightiest empires in the world — the Mughals, the British, the Russians, and the Americans, but they never surrendered.

Today, a reign of terror has been unleashed by the army and police in Pakistan, with over 12,000 people arrested on trumped-up charges after the events of May 9, 2023 (which many believe were stage managed), and incarcerated in inhuman conditions for long periods.

Most Pakistani judges, who have taken an oath to uphold the nation’s Constitution, and whose solemn duty is to protect the fundamental rights of the people enshrined in Part 2 of the Constitution, particularly the right to life and liberty (in Article 9), have turned a Nelson’s eye to the gross and open violation of these rights in Pakistan.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa

The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa, prefers hearing old, infructuous, and meaningless cases in which no one is interested. For instance, the cases of the long-dead former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and General Pervez Musharraf, and the Faizabad dharna case, instead of hearing pressing matters that call for an early hearing, such as habeas corpus petitions and bail applications of detenus in jail.

One had therefore lost hope in the Pakistan judiciary, and started regarding the Pakistani judges as impotent rubber stamps, who only care for their salaries, perks and pensions. As long as they are assured of that, they will do the biddings of the establishment, like a modern Judge Jeffreys or the Nazi Roland Freisler, and turn a blind eye to the wrongful incarceration of thousands of Pakistanis, and other illegalities

The bold statements of the chief justice of Peshawar High Court, Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, while granting bail late at night to Zartaj Gul, a former Minister in Imran Khan’s cabinet, were therefore like rain falling on a parched land.

In my opinion, only a Pathan like Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan could be fearless enough to give such statements. Chief Justice Khan said that the doors of the Court will be open all day and night, and he will hear a call for justice even at 2 or 3 a.m. He said that he would rather resign than fail to do justice.

While the image of CJP Isa has sunk to the lowest level in Pakistan, that of the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court has gone up sky high throughout the country.

Justice Ibrahim Khan has proved he is a real Pathan, a true and worthy descendant of his brave ancestors who took on Alexander the Great, the mighty Mughals, the British, the Russians, and the Americans, but never surrendered.

Long live the chief justice of Peshawar High Court!

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