The Musharraf case

I AM shocked at the role now being increasingly assumed by the judges of superior courts in being the prosecutor as well as the judge at the same time.

Only on the April 23 morning I had mortification to go through press reports to the effect that Justice Jawwad Khwaja showed his annoyance over the refusal of the federal interim government to prosecute Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf under Article 6 of the constitution.

I remained associated with the judiciary from 1961 to 2010 from the lowest rung of judicial office (civil judge IV class) but it had never occurred to me that feeling interested in the prosecution of any individual was one of the subsidiary functions of a judicial officer.

The universally approved view seems to be that the work of a judge is to try a case brought before it by the prosecution.

He should never show any keenness in the prosecution of any particular individual and the moment he shows his personal interest in prosecuting an individual, he falls from the high pedestal of a judge and becomes a party to the case and is unfit to hear and try that case.

To prosecute or not to prosecute is the exclusive domain of the executive power. Unfortunately, an impression has been created — I pray and hope that it must be a wrong impression — that the courts are guided more by motives of vengeance and hatred rather than justice in proceeding against Musharraf. The judiciary is the last refuge towards which a common man looks for his grievances to be redressed. But if even this last refuge betrays and is gone, we will be totally doomed. It will then be the law of jungle where might will be right and who does not know that the army is the most disciplined institution of the state.



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