Editorial : The final round? - Sunday, April 03, 2011

There has been talk of confrontation between the PPP government and the Supreme Court for so long now, that some of us had begun to think it may not happen at all. But the indications are now clearer than ever that we may be heading towards a final showdown – and a dastardly attempt to reduce the courts to the kind of puppet set-ups that have existed in the past, nodding tamely when political masters speak, and doing their bidding without so much as a whine of protest. This is the very last thing we need. At the moment, an independent judiciary offers the only beacon of light for our future. We have seen over the past months repeated efforts to thwart its efforts and to ignore its verdicts. As the SC has itself noted, the strike in Sindh following its ruling on the appointment of the NAB Chairman amounted to a terrible act of open defiance. There are indications that the PPP may now be preparing to step up the scale of this defiance and take matters further. Panic within its ranks is reported to be mounting as the NRO petition and the matter of judicial appointments comes up for review – with the henchmen who surround the president concerned about a revival of the Swiss cases and what this would mean for them.

The tactics of desperation are being seen. The astonishing show of strength put on by Dr Zulfikar Mirza and his supporters as the SC heard the contempt case against the PPP’s Taj Haider and Sharjeel Memon for their remarks in the case of the NAB Chairman, Deedar Hussain Shah, suggests that the ‘Sindh Card’ is to be used in the future. Dr Mirza has made controversial remarks about Sindhis being treated like Bengalis. None of this makes sense, but the purpose is obviously to strike at the courts through street power at its ugliest. The PPP sees this as a battle it must win. The apex court obviously cannot ‘match’ such tactics. As an institution, its role is one of dignity and the ability to command respect. It is precisely these qualities that the PPP seeks to challenge. We can only hope for the sake of our collective future that it does not succeed and we do not lose the breath of fresh air that has wafted our way since the Supreme Court under Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed duties some two years ago. 

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=39662&Cat=8

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