‘‘The Constitution is what the judges say it is’’ — Charles Evans Hughes
A state can prosper only if all of its institutions, such as bureaucracy, military, judiciary and law enforcement agencies, are free of any kind of undue influence and also they are able to play their due role in their predetermined boundaries. Among state’s institutions, judiciary holds one of the top positions because of its authority to summon leader of the state and asked him for his actions. For a free judiciary not only its aloofness from politics is required but also it is necessary that its decisions should be accepted without any objections. But unfortunately a mixed reaction came into front when the Supreme Court of Pakistan gave its verdict in Panama leaks trial of the former Prime Minister Mr Nawaz Sharif. Some people including some political leaders of the country accepted the verdict without a quibble while others rejected it with severe criticism.
Both groups have their own view about the Supreme Court judgement in Panama leaks case, which have been discussed in detail below.
Opponent Of The Supreme Court Verdict
Those who are against Supreme Court judgement and called it illogical raised the following objections.
(A) Biased Judiciary
The very first and most critical objection that the supporters of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raised is that despite of the long struggle of their political party, Pakistan Muslim League (N), during judiciary freedom movement, the courts of Pakistan unfortunately are not free of political biasedness even today. They believed that the Supreme Court has given its judgement in Panama Leaks case under the political influence of a third party and this makes authority of both the institution and judgement objectionable.
(B) Irrelevant Judgement
Another objection of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) workers is that the Judgement of Supreme Court of Pakistan is irrelevant as the original case, which was filed against Nawaz Sharif by Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreki Insaf, was based on Articles 62 and 63 while the Supreme Court disqualified Prime Minister on a reason, which was not raised by the petitioner.
This objection is actually an extension of the above criticism and due to this reason they believed that this judgement is biased. They also believed that by this judgement, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has violated the internationally recognized principles of jurisprudence.
(C) Supreme Court Not A Trial Court
Judicial and constitutional experts of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) have challenged the authority of the Supreme Court in conducting trial of the sitting Prime Minister. They opine that by this action, Supreme Court has violated the internationally recognized principles of jurisprudence.
(D) Violation Of The Constitution
Another critical objection of the supporters of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is that the acceptance of petition by the Supreme Court in itself is objectionable. They believed that Supreme Court accepted the appeals in Panama case on the bases of Article 184(3) of the Constitution but the court failed to understand that clause ‘‘Three (3)’’ of the Article 184 deals with issues of public interest in case of violation of basic human rights while Panama case was of criminal nature and no violation of fundamental human rights was involved.
(E) Prejudiced Judgement
The supporters of Sharif family also blamed the Supreme Court bench of Panama case for prejudicial behaviour during the trial. They argued that the judges’ remarks during the trial and in the final judgement were not of the international judicial standards. This in-fact shows the discriminatory behaviour of the Supreme Court bench.
(F) Definition Of Sadiq And Ameen
Another objection is that how Supreme Court defines these terms because the judges can give a judgement only if they comprehensively define these terms in the first place.
Supporters Of The Supreme Court Judgement
The judgement of Supreme Court in Panama Leaks case was not only welcomed by the opposition political parties but by a large number of general public as well. They called it as the beginning of a new era in the political system of the country. They have the following opinion in support of the Supreme Court verdict in Panama Leaks case.
(A) Rule Of Law
They believed that this is a historic judgement and it will further strengthen democratic values and practices in the country. They also argued that it is one of the major steps towards rule of law in the state.
(B) Legal Procedure
They denied Pakistan Muslim League (N) supporters’ objection of the violation of international principles of jurisprudence during the proceedings of the case. They also negate their blame of the defying of the state constitution during the trial. They called these statements as mere objections and have no base.
© Independent Judiciary
Contrary to Sharif’s family supporters, they considered the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama leaks case a sign of independent judiciary. In support of their argument they say that in the past, no court of the country has ever given a verdict against Sharif’s family which clearly shows that this time the court was not under the influence of anybody during its rulings.
(D) Double Standards
The supporters of Supreme Court judgement blame Nawaz Sharif and his party political workers for double standard in their actions. They argued that Nawaz Sharif along with his workers have approved the proceedings of the court and have claimed that they would accept Supreme Court judgement without any objection.
(E) End Of Dynastic Politics
Supreme Court judgement is also considered by the supporters as an end to dynastic political trend in the country which is a major impediment in the political and overall development process of the country.