There comes a time, in the life of a nation, when all seems to be lost, when there is no light at the end of the tunnel, when the will for survival and hopes of salvation are all but dashed, when the past is a torture, present an infamy and future a nightmare! When good tidings are rare while disasters and reversals are a norm, when the land is stalked by tragedies and a dreadful hush prevails over the landscape.
Pakistan, a valiant nation of 180 million lion hearts, is passing through this very phase. This verily, is the darkest of hour of its checkered history. As the exploited, gypped and caged nation smarts from the series of stinging blows, dealt to its bruised, battered and outraged body by a succession of civilian dictators, the landscape of the country cuts a sorry if not a tragic figure. Internal strife marked by armed rebellions, earth being pounded, blood being spilled, human flesh being blown to bits in all parts of the land with harrowing regularity. An ever parlous economy now sinking down a slippery slope, the ever fragile fabric of national unity coming apart at seams, ideals as rule of law, supremacy of constitution and independence of judiciary being reduced to mere fodder for academic debates, soaring inflation, spiralling poverty rate, mounting uncertainty, flight of capital by the hour, with the country lurching from one disaster to another, teetering at the edge of an abyss, the present is doom and gloom while future a nightmare. Pakistan is a nation of cornered tigers, pummelled into a temporary and uneasy submission, by expansionist and hegemonistic powers through their corrupt, callous and treacherous quislings. Pakistanis have had their fair share of Mir Jaffirs and Mir Sadiks!
Human beings cannot be perfect but they can excel in virtues and be embodiment of a thoroughly upright conduct. There is a perennial tussle going on between the generally acknowledged vices and virtues within a man. One can be repository of an exemplary character and vice versa one can be as sinister as a proverbial Satan
History is made and nations are built by the individuals with extraordinary traits. Some of these qualities are unflinching courage, bounteous talent, sagacity, genius, blotless character and the ability to take right decisions in face of stupendous crises. But the laws of nature, history and human conduct show, that it’s darkest before the break of dawn. A trough has to precede a crest; destruction bears seeds of construction and hope in it, only after a nadir, comes the zenith. Only from the ruins of the past, emerge fresh hope, renewed vigor and a new Messiah.
Amid all the turbulence and political chaos, it appears as if Pakistan has finally found her Messiah, The Incumbent Chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, blessed with a dauntless perseverance, a piercing acumen, and unfaltering devotion to duty. By displaying an unimpeachable honesty and a dogged spirit, he has firmed up the rule of law and cornered the rogues. Cast in a mold of probity and with a soul aflame for truth and justice, he is waging a lone crusader’s war for a civil society. A sole legion hell bent in creating a glorious judicial history in a country like Pakistan that otherwise is beset with a pandemic of moral and legal aberrations. It was a giant step towards rebuilding a civil society and bolstering the honor of Judiciary, when undeterred, he told on the face of a reckless and desperate dictator that he would fight out with him a judicial battle in case he was sacked. That was a turning milestone that inspired and emboldened the civil society, the lawyers, the intelligentsia, the students, the youth, and politicians to unfurl a sustained campaign that resulted in the ouster of the self-deluded dictator.
A cursory glance at the cases disposed off or being heard by the apex court would lead to an utter amazement, as to how the chief justice has been braced against the insatiable harlots of corruption and retrieved the embezzled money back to the national exchequer. The judgments or the proceedings on several cases are watershed and would be written as historic in the judicial annals. Some of these gigantic cases are Pakistan Steel Mills privatization, Raja rental power plants, Arslan Iftikhar, Hajj scandal involving the elder son of Ex Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and also his younger son in a 7 billion ephedrine scam.
There is long litany of stupendous cases that the incumbent chief justice has dealt with and did not dither while handing out a verdict that was outright in the public interests and was absolutely untainted. One such was when Zardari’s right hand Malik Riaz (Owner Bahria Town) framed Chief Justice’s son Dr. Arsalan to fall into the avarice and loathsome temptation of accepting huge amounts of grafts, who by design was cultivating him for bargaining on his cases pending before the courts, but it backfired when Chief justice took suo moto notice of the reports about the corruption of his own son hence setting up an impeccable precedent in the judicial history of Pakistan. It could have been only a lion hearted person like Chief Justice to be countenancing a crowd of hardened goons and ripened thugs and award them the verdicts and sentences that they deserved. In fact he is a man whose life is enriched with unselfish service.
Chief Jusitce has been putting up a brave fight and upholding the finest tradition of an impeccable judiciary against formidable challenges that can be likened to the morning star appearing in a predawn phase of darkness. On numerous occasions he has stood like a rock in face of visibly heavy odds and burgeoning pressures and rebuffed offer of perks and material enticements to be partisan. He sternly spurned all temptations that could detract or derail him from the chartered path of dignifying the institution of judiciary.
The lofty conduct of apex judiciary might become harbinger for a Pakistan where justice would not be manipulated in favor of rich and powerful, and where a common man would stand face to face with feudal lords in the court to seek justice as an equal citizen of Pakistan.
In an armada of dacoits and burglars, Chief Justice remains the only glittering hope to drive out the betrayed Pakistani nation safe and unhurt, to shore up the sinking boat of good governance and to establish and restore the supremacy of law and glorify the contours of a civil society.