Judges also need self-discipline
Nawaz Sharif is convinced that the evidence of financial malfeasance produced against him before the Accountability Court cannot be refuted easily and he is likely to be convicted of corruption and money laundering. He is aware that once the charges are proved he will find it difficult to convince his supporters that unlike other politicians he is all honesty and uprightness. Thus the only option before him, he believes, is to prove to his followers that the courts are either prejudiced or are conspiring with other forces to remove him from political scene.
One of the tactics to prove the partiality of the courts is to provoke these into taking action against Sharif and his supporters on charges that have nothing to do with corruption. It was difficult for even the staunchest followers of the PML-N to defend the overly aggressive and threatening speech by former Senator Nihal Hashmi. But once the contemner had been told to apologise and then to rephrase the apology in the light of the court’s directions, prudence demanded that he should be pardoned. More clever leaders like Talal Chaudhry and Daniyal Aziz have issued statements to provoke the judiciary in more subtle ways. It remains to be seen how the SC treats them. What the PML-N presumably intends to do is to prepare volunteers, beginning with some of the dispensable ministers to provoke the SC so that they too are sentenced and then to claim that the courts are acting out of malice.
What can help the PML-N are certain tendencies in the courts. A perception is gathering roots that at least in one way the present SC is treading the path of the infamous CJ (r) Iftikhar Chaudhary. The inordinate recourse to suo motu cases is seen by some as an attempt at populism. One can also sometime detect an element of anger in the judges’ pronouncements. There is a need on the part of the judges to speak only through their judgment instead of making ill-informed or badly phrased comments for which they have to later apologise. The more the judges speak outside the courts, the greater the possibility of their becoming mired in controversy.
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