Verdict vindicates demand for independent judiciary: HRCP

Press Release, February 25, 2009

Lahore: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday regretted the judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualifying Mian Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif by a short order.

A statement by HRCP said: “This apparent politicisation of the rule of law has further devalued the respect of the superior judiciary of the country. The people of Pakistan are sharp enough to distinguish between judgments based on justice and those delivered for ulterior political motives. The writing was on the wall. Pakistan is going through a critical period and further destabilisation of Punjab can only add to the country’s woes.

Political parties including the PPP have suffered at the hands of judicial pronouncements that selectively victimise political parties and their leaders. The judicial assassination of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the hounding of late Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as well as leaders of the ANP and the PML-N are now established historical facts. These errors continue at huge costs to the country.

HRCP hopes that political parties will remain united in giving precedence to the mandate of the people over dubious judicial pronouncements. This motivated judicial interference has vindicated the demand of the lawyers’ movement for an independent judiciary. It is now quite apparent that the democratic process will not move forward unless the nexus between the judiciary and the executive is not severed.

HRCP warns that the country needs political reconciliation rather than polarization that will leave a vacuum for adventurism. National and international players concerned with political progress in Pakistan must take note of this disturbing development. Woefully, Pakistan’s rulers misinterpret the US support for them as license to play havoc with their opponents and democratic norms.”

Asma Jahangir

Chairperson

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