Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 30, 2001 Much more is required to done
by the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan to restore the image and confidence of the people in
the judiciary as an institution strong and independent enough to safeguard their rights
and provide redress against the government excesses. The concept of good governance is
likely to remain a dream and an illusion unless judiciary is transformed into a strong and
independent institution capable of safe guarding the rights of the citizens and providing
them quick redress against excesses of the government in power, said justice Saeeduzzaman
Siddiqui, the former chief justice of Pakistan who refused to take oath under the PCO of
the present Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf and had no option but to retire.
He was addressing a large gathering
of Pakistanis on the occasion of their National Day held at the Hyatt Regency by Pakistan
Cultural Group (PCG). The group with its secretary general Abdul Hameed Abu Farooq has
also invited a distinguished writer and poet Dr. Inamul Haque Javed of Allama Iqbal Open
University, Islamabad to be one of the speakers to celebrate the Pakistan National Day.
Besides Siddiqui and Dr. Inamul Haque, Pakistans ambassador Muhammed Asad Durrani
also graced the occasion, which was attended by diplomats, eminent writers, poets and
businessmen from cross section of the community. While praising the sincere efforts of
overseas Pakistanis, especially those residing in the Kingdom in supporting their country
and bringing good name for their nation, he said, "it is a unique opportunity for me
to address a gathering of this kind in a foreign land. I considered it a unique for two
reasons. Firstly, as a judge of the superior court of Pakistan, I used to speak only
through my judgments and avoided public appearances that kept me away from public gaze for
almost twenty years. Secondly, at the time I entered the office of the judge of superior
court, I signed the Code of Conduct issued by the Supreme Judicial Council that required
every judge of the superior court to shun publicity and keep away from the thicket of
politics and public controversies."
These are the normal constraints of the office of the SC judge in Pakistan. Having
relinquished my office as Chief Justice, more than a year ago, these constraints are no
more in my way. I therefore, consider it my duty now to speak to my countrymen and share
my experiences of life with them on issues of public and national importance and it is in
this spirit that I address you in Riyadh.
Muslim throughout the world
traditionally regards Saudi Arabia as the fortress of Islam. Pakistan too considers Saudis
as its natural and trusted ally. Like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan also remained in the
forefront in dealing with issues relating to Muslim Ummah. Both the countries have
identical views on majority of important international issues. This identity of approach
on issues of common interest promoted close brotherly relation between the Government of
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It is not the bond of religion alone that binds our two
countries that inspired respect and love for the Saudi Government and its people in the
heart of every Pakistani. It is the concern and the principled stand always taken by the
Saudi Government on maters concerning Muslim Ummah throughout the world in general and
Pakistan and its people in particular that led the Government and people of Pakistan
regard Saudi Arabia as dependable ally and a friend in need. Furthermore, the presence of
strong Pakistani community here bears testimony to the love and respect that they have for
their counterpart. The people of Pakistan value greatly the political, moral and economic
support extended by the Saudi government to Pakistan on every critical juncture of its 53
yeas of existence.
We are celebrating Pakistan Day at a time when the country is once again off the
democratic rails and facing political isolation and an extremely difficult economic
situation. There is tremendous pressure by the International community in general and
donor countries in particular for restoration of democratic institutions and good
governance in the country. Pakistan, as we all know, was created as a result of
constitutional and democratic struggle launched by the Muslims of sub-continent under the
able guidance and leadership of Qauid-e-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah. He perceived Pakistan as
a modern, democratic Islamic state, where all its citizens irrespective of their
religious, social and political status enjoyed equal opportunities and protection of law.
Unfortunately, we failed to realize this dream till today and are still wandering in
political wilderness to discover our identity. Though we achieved independence in August
1947, we failed to evolve a Constitution based on national consensus for almost nine long
years, which proved a great set back in the process of nation building. When we finally
succeeded in framing a Constitution based on national consensus in 1956, it proved a
short-lived document, as a Military Dictator abrogated it in October 1958. This proved to
be the first seed of discord sowed in the national politics. The Constitution of 1962
given by the Military Dictator could not promote national integration and cohesion. This
document too was not followed in its letter and spirit by the rulers and was ultimately
abrogated by another Military Dictator in 1969, placing the country once again under the
totalitarian military rule.
The absence of Constitutional rule and our consistent failure to follow the democratic
norms led to the tragic events of 1971 and we not only lost half of our country but
suffered unprecedented humiliation in the erstwhile East Pakistan when our ninety thousand
troops surrendered before the invading Indian Army.
In the aftermath of the event of 1971, we framed another Constitution in 1973 through
consensus of the remaining four federating units of the then West Pakistan. However, it
appears that we were not prepared to draw any lesion from the events of the past as the
country was placed under Martial Law for the third time in July 1977 by another Military
Dictator holding the Constitution of 1973 in abeyance. Between the periods from 1985 to
1997 the country went through the process of five general elections under the Constitution
of 1973 but none of the elected governments were able to complete their constitutional
term of five years, leading to a political instability in the country. We are once again
under the Army Rule and the Constitution of the countr7y stands suspended. We have been
messing our affairs too long. We are known for our extravagance world over. We have been
living beyond our means. We indiscreetly obtained loan from International Agencies and
grossly mismanaged our economy.
He pointed out that today, politically and economically battered Pakistan, is once again
standing on the cross road looking forward to its allies and friends for a stronger and
more sustained support in its battle for economic and political survival as a self
respecting, dignified and sovereign State in the comity of Nations.
The concept of freedom and
independence in todays world is closely linked with the economic independence. For
an economically dependent and debt ridden country, the concept of independence and
sovereignty is illusive. A country groaning under heavy debts is under constant threat and
pressure by the donor states to make concession on issue of domestic and international
impotence to the liking of its donors thus opening the door for inroads in its
independence and sovereignty. The International donors, sometimes being unaware of the
ground realities force the indebted country to take decision contrary to its national
interest to safeguard the interest of donor countries that add to the miseries of the
already over burdened population of the indebted country. This is the situation we are
facing now. To this date, we have not been able to evolve a strategy to get out of the
debt trap. The present policy followed by the Government to obtain more loans from
International donors to meet its debt commitment is unlikely to produce any positive
result. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the Father of the Nation, in his speech at the
opening ceremony of the State Bank of Pakistan, on July 1, 1948 made the following
comments on the banking and economic system:
"I shall watch with keenness the work of you research Organization in evolving
banking practices compatible with Islamic ideals of social and economic life. The economic
system of the West has created almost insoluble problems for humanity and to many of us it
appears that only a miracle can save it from disaster that is now facing the world. It has
failed to do justice between man and man and to eradicate friction from the international
On the contrary, it was largely responsible for the two world wars in the half century.
The Western world, in spite of its advantages of mechanization and industrial efficiency
is today in a worse mess than ever before in history. The adoption of Western economic
theory and practice will not help us in achieving our goal of creating a happy and
We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based
on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice. We will thereby be
fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving the humanity the message of peace which alone
can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind."
This quoted observations of the Father of the Nation on the economic system of Pakistan
through made more than half a century ago still hold good and call for serious
consideration by our economic managers while laying down the parameters of our economic
I am not a politician. I also do
not claim to be a reformer or a philosopher either, said former chief justice. I spent
twenty years of my life as a judge of the Superior courts struggling for the supremacy of
rule of law and independence of judiciary. Even before joining the superior judiciary, I
was associated with this august institution for about twenty years as a practicing lawyer
at Karachi. My long association of about forty years with the institution of judiciary has
oriented my approach to all problems in life based on objectivity without being influenced
by extraneous matters. The economic and political situation prevailing today is by means
enviable. Our economic mismanagement has shaken the roots of the Federation. Lack of
employment opportunities for educated youths and absence of creative activities in the
economic field has sent the law and order situation in the country crumbling down.
The escalation of conflict in occupied Kashmir continues to prove a burden on the meager
economic resources of Pakistan. The society is polarized in the absence of political
process. The nation stands divided on ethnic and sectarian lines. Despondency prevails in
every walk of life. Absence of commitment and faith in the future of country has
encouraged drain of talent and economic resources out of country. We cannot survive in
this situation for long. Serious efforts are needed to arrest the prevailing despondency
in the society. Efforts are required to restore the public confidence in the institutions
of the state. An early return to democratic process may help restore the image of Pakistan
as a moderate civilized state in the international community. Our foremost problem today
is lack of good governance and a viable economic base.
Pakistanis living abroad have always shown more concern and rational approach to the
developments back home as compared to those living in the country. I am sure their
reaction to the prevailing situation will not be different this time also. They should
come forward to support all genuine and legitimate efforts for restoration of economic
activities in the country and in building a better image in the outside world. For good
governance the institution of judiciary is to be strengthen and its independence as
contemplated in the Constitution is to be secured.
The chief justice went on to say that all of you invited me in this function and must be
anxious to hear my views on the role of judiciary in national affairs and specially its
performance in the recent past. You justifiably expect me to tell about the functioning of
judiciary in the country as until recently I held the office of Chief Justice.
Judiciary is regarded as a vital institution in maintaining harmony, promoting national
cohesion and good governance. The primary function of judiciary is to enforce "rule
of law" and maintain balance in the society. Law regulates conduct in a manner that
each and every one is given his due and no one suffers wrong or injury without remedy. The
administration of justice is regarded, world wide, as a great instrument of civilization.
The growth of civilization has always had a nexus with the way and manner the
administration of justice function. The system of administration of justice, indeed,
expounds the triumph of reason and common sense over the use of crude force. It conveys
the sense of justice, fairness and equity amongst citizens. This I why both under the
injunction of Islam and the modern norms of international law, judiciary is given a
central place and the position of an arbiter between the state and the citizens.
The civility of a society, therefore, is judged by the system of administration of
justice-practiced by it and the adherence and respect its rulers and people show for the
rule of law. The more a society is civilized the greater degree of respect and adherence
its people and rulers show to the rule of law. "Rule of Law has always been a
preferred option as compared to "rule of men" in civilized societies. Great
civilizations and successful nations owe their existence and sustenance to their adherence
to the rule of law. Human history is replete with examples that great civilizations were
wiped out of the surface of earth when the rule of law disappeared from those societies.
Law emerged with the creation of man. With the birth of Adam, came the command: "thou
" and for disobedience punishment followed. Islam lays much emphasis
on the rule of law in every aspect of life. The rulers and rules are placed on the same
pedestal in matters of application of law under the Islamic system of governance. There
has been a long running conflict between "law" and "order".
Plato addressed the issue some 2000 years ago by asking: " Is it more advantageous to
be subject to the best men or the best law". The answer was more or less uniform.
Aristotle responded that the rule of law is the preferred option. Thomas Jefferson, the US
president, echoed the same preference by proclaiming that "we want to be ruled by law
rather then men". Consequently, in our contemporary world, there are no two opinions
as to the universal consensus on "rule of law".
Judiciary in Pakistan is assigned the role of a neutral umpire in conflict and dispute
amongst citizens or between government and citizens. To be able to discharge this mandate
effectively and efficiently, the Constitution confers upon the judiciary a unique
prerogative of being free, impartial and independent. The success of judiciary as a free,
impartial and independent institution however, largely depends on the faith and confidence
reposed in its working by the common man. Without strong public support judiciary cannot
be transformed into a strong and independent institution. The people consider judiciary as the custodian of their rights.
They look towards the judiciary for enforcement of their fundamental rights guaranteed
under the Constitution. They expect judiciary to intervene and do it promptly, against the
excesses of the government in power. These are the legitimate expectations of the people
and judiciary must live up to them.
Unfortunately, our rulers without any distinction whether they were from civil or military
cadre, did not cherish the independence of judiciary. They all considered the institution
of judiciary as a threat or a challenge to their rule. This unrealistic and misconceived
approach of the rulers adversely affected the growth of judiciary as an independent and
strong institution capable of safe guarding the rights of citizen and promoting good
Judiciary too unfortunately failed to assert when occasion arose leaving its record of
performance not very enviable. The pronouncements of Supreme Court in Moulvi Tamizuddin,
Dosso and Begum Nusrat Bhuttos cases did not inspire public confidence and are
considered outcome of compromised approach by the court on issues of vital national and
constitutional importance. The Supreme Court did assert its independence in Asma
Jillanis case by declaring the seizure of power by the Military Dictator as an act
of usurpation but the decision was of little practical value as the Military Dictator had
departed from the scene by the time the decision came from the highest court.
The judgments of the SC in Mian Nawaz Sharifs case restoring the dissolved
assemblies and striking down the order of a sitting President of Pakistan, declaring he
constitution of Military Courts by the civilian government of Sharif in Sh. Liquat
Hussains case as unconstitutional and ruling in Sardar Farooq Legharis case
that despite promulgation of Emergency by the President, the fundamental rights guaranteed
under the Constitution continue to be operative are the silver linings for the judiciary.
He pointed out in the end that we are no doubt passing through a critical phase of our
national life but despite these difficulties, there is no reason to allow despondency
overtakes us. Allah has blessed us in its infinite mercy with plenty of natural resources.
Its people are industrious and hard working. They faced difficult times in course o their
national existence in the past as well but came out successful.
They always offered great sacrifices in men and material to preserve the national honor,
solidarity and integrity. With the divine guidance, we will be able to see off the present
difficult time as well, very soon. Let us pray to Allah and hope to see a better and
prosperous Pakistan when we meet next year to celebrate the Pakistan Day.
He thanked the PCG for giving him this great chance to share his views with the
It may be mentioned that PCG was formed eighteen years back in Riyadh. Besides holding two
grand functions per year, it also provides financial assistance to the poor and sick
persons in the community. Furthermore, during the emergency back home, it also arranges
much needed financial aid as was done for the drought victims.
Assisting Farooq in this get together were Dr. Riaz Javed Khawaja, Khursheed Ahmed, Dr.
Tahir Paul, Dr. Rao Ishtiaq Khan, Tariq Soomro and eminent economist Tariq Javed.