Editorial : Oaths and orders - Sunday, February 20, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=32090&Cat=8

The larger seven-member Supreme Court bench has moved quickly against the seven sitting judges who took oath under the Provisional Constitution Order, restraining them from issuing orders. The move came after the dysfunctional Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court issued a contempt order from his chambers against several SC judges. The apex court bench also observed that while other judges had taken oath under PCOs in the past, there was a need now to set matters straight and put in place precedents that could be used to guide matters in future.

Certainly, we need to see principle being introduced in all walks of life. The judiciary should be the starting point for this, as the institution entrusted with the task of upholding the law and also making sure that the essence of democracy and the integrity of the system are upheld at all costs. While somewhat contradictory views are being expressed about the matter, there should be little doubt that the oath taken in November 2007 went to undermine democracy and strengthen the hold of a dictator who acted only to expand his own power and tighten an illegal grip over the state. While it is true, as has been stated in court, that other oaths have been taken under PCOs during the six decades of Pakistan’s existence, past wrongs cannot and should not be used to justify those committed in the present. This history makes it all the more imperative that corrections be made and measures to enforce them be taken.

The SC has made it quite clear that it intends to go about this task with determination. This is an important step. It is only when we act masterfully against wrong of every kind that right can replace it. This action can also help build respect for the judiciary and confidence in the eyes of people that it is worthy of honour. This is a fundamental need in a society where the rule of law has been breaking down over the years. Change needs to be initiated from the top, and the actions of the apex court can and should also serve as a warning to others against backing measures that violate the constitution or the law of the land. There have been too many such violations through our history. They need to be brought to an end so that we can have a better future with all institutions playing a role in upholding the law and the order that stems from this.

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