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WAF Files a Reference Against CJP in an Act that Protects Democratic Sanctity

WAF Files a Reference Against CJP in an Act that Protects Democratic Sanctity

Saniya Rashid

In a plus one for the often obscure beauty of democracy in Pakistan, the Women’s Action Forum (WAF) has filed a reference against the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar. 

The reference against Justice Nisar has been filed for his remarks and actions that are “unbecoming of a judge”. The WAF claims that instead of taking pride and feeling a sense of security in the state institutions, citizens have feared whether their constitutional rights will be safeguarded or not. The press release notes that a democratic state is the prefered mode of governance world over because it theoretically comes with distinct demarcations of state institutions and their duties. When state institutions stick to their work, there is an optimization of democracy, which isn’t something Pakistan is striving towards due to the operations of the CJP.

Press Release, Page 1

WAF has urged that CJP Nisar is responsible for a host of inefficiencies and actions that fall outside his jurisdiction. 

The Press Release regarding this reads: “Mian Saqib Nisar through his remarks and actions indulged in conduct unbecoming of a judge, politicised the judiciary, violated the principles of the separation of powers, and demonstrated negligence and the inability to adjudicate in an independent, neutral, non=partisan and impartial manner. He has failed to keep his office free of controversy or to discharge the mountainous heaps of pending cases that plague the judiciary and prevent it from serving as an efficacious provider of justice and due process to the citizens. He has attempted to legislate like a politician, execute like a bureaucrat and commandeer like a military chief. He has sought attention like a celebrity.”

Press release, page 2

True to what the statement claims, the CJP’s actions often have been confusing.

Just over the top of our heads, we also failed to understand why the CJP visiting the hospital was given such media attention the way it was. It was not a politician on his rounds for votes, it was not a philanthropist, it was the Chief Justice on a simple visit to the hospital. Even if it was meant to be a model to emulate, it still doesn’t make sense for the media to create such unnecessary hype over it. Now, this triviality wouldn’t be so glaringly out of place if the CJP didn’t have so many cases pending and so many citizens seeking justice.

Nor would the claims in the press release be so believable if the justice system hadn’t in fact been giving space to extremists, all the while suppressing voices with legitimate claims to basic, fundamental human rights. 

Going back to why this press release is a beautiful aspect of democracy, however, the press release realizes that standing alone this statement might be insignificant. WAF knows that they will face harsh criticism over this and quite possibly censorship as well. Some may even brand them as traitors. But that didn’t deter them from doing their duty of holding deviating elements accountable for what their job description requires.

In a democracy, offices like that of the CJP are meant to serve the people, not vice-versa. 

The reference filed against Justice Nisar is a reminder that the people have a duty to themselves, each other and therefore the country to be critical of the state institutions and demand better. This certainly doesn’t mean that one encourages deviancy or becoming a traitor, but it does mean that we redefine what being a ‘ghaddar’ even means.  Activists demanding minority rights aren’t ‘ghaddars’. People fighting for women’s rights aren’t ‘ghaddars’. And, a journalist practicing transparency in reporting, isn’t a ‘ghaddar’.

WAF through this press-release has put themselves up for public criticism. Yet, they are hopeful that this will create a domino effect for more people to rise up to the occasion.

It is a call to action and we all must stand together and support this democratic freedom, which a country like Pakistan seemingly boasts of in theory but practices fairly little of. 



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