Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, on Wednesday, responded to the recent comments made by Prime Minister Imran Khan with regards to the judiciary’s involvement in allowing incarcerated former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to depart for London for his medical treatment.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of a mobile app and video link facility across five courtrooms of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice said, “Do not sneer at us about the powerful and mighty.”
Chief Justice Khosa has responded to PM Imran Khan's angry speech the day before wherein he complained about the courts allowing Nawaz Sharif to leave the country. This is an extraordinary retort by an otherwise low profile CJP.
— Raza Ahmad Rumi (@Razarumi) November 20, 2019
“Do not Taunt Us”
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that Nawaz Sharif was granted permission to travel abroad by the Prime Minister, while the Lahore High Court (LHC) had only streamlined the modalities of the trip.
Addressing a gathering in Havelian on Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had urged the Chief Justice and Justice Gulzar Ahmad of the Supreme Court to address the situation and restore the public’s faith in the judiciary.
The Premier had also said that the foundation of a new legal system on the principles of Riyasat-e-Madina requires a speedy and efficient justice system. He said that there is an obvious disparity in how the judicial system treats the common man and the mighty elite. He extended his support and willingness to support the judiciary in eliminating this disparity and restoring the public’s faith in the judicial institutions.
Encourage Judges, Don’t Criticize
Responding to the Premier’s remarks, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said, “The social segments that criticize our judges ought to be cautious because our judges are working hard day and night.”
He said, “Encourage them rather than criticizing them.” The Chief Justice said that the law is the only powerful element in the eyes of the judiciary.
شکوہ! جواب شکوہ!!! pic.twitter.com/UsDEp1CONJ
— Arshad Sharif (@arsched) November 20, 2019
Commenting on the one-time allowance given to Nawaz Sharif to travel to London, the Chief Justice said, “I do not want to remark on the particular case the honorable prime minister referred to, but he knows that he himself ordained the permission for someone to travel abroad. The debate conducted in the high court was about the modalities.”
Acknowledging that no institution is perfect, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said, “Our judiciary has witnessed a silent revolution”. He urged the public to not compare the current judicial set up to the one that existed before 2009. He said, “The judiciary after that year has emerged to be different, and independent. For us, no is powerful, big or small.”
The Chief Justice said, “Do you not remember that we have convicted a prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) while another prime minister was disqualified (Yousaf Raza Gilani)?” In a veiled reference to a case against retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, he added that a case concerning a chief of army staff “is going to be decided soon.”
The Chief Justice welcomed the Premier’s announcement to divert resources from other departments and funnel them to improve judicial functioning. He said that now that the judiciary is facing a scarcity of resources, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision is “very timely”.
Govt Spokesperson Forbidden to Respond
Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Wednesday, directed the government spokespersons to avoid responding to the remarks by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa on the departure of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Addressing a meeting of government spokesperson at the PM Office, the Prime Minister observed that the entire nation can see the unmasked reality of the Sharif family. He said, “The entire nation is watching. Sharif was received by his sons in the UK, who are absconders in Pakistan. Nawaz even failed to prove the ownership of the flat he is residing in.”
Chief Justice just said that it was Imran Khan himself who permitted Nawaz Sharif to go abroad. He also told him to be careful with his words.
Imran Khan who is posing to be innocent before public has always been like this. He lied for power & is still continuing this practice. pic.twitter.com/Jy0m7mQ6z3
— Jawad Ahmad (@jawadahmadone) November 20, 2019
He added, “The government has allowed Nawaz to travel on humanitarian grounds, and in light of his medical reports. We will never resort to playing politics on his health.” The premier said that the government has accepted the Lahore High Court’s decision to allow the PML-N supremo to depart for London without providing an indemnity bond to the interior ministry.
The Premier pledged that the anti-corruption drive against the “corruption mafia” will continue unhindered, and he will continue his fight, even if he has to do it alone. He said, “The government will not cause any obstacles in the accountability process. I strongly believe in accountability, and no one responsible for corruption will be allowed to go free, whether they belong to the opposition or the government.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is an independent institution. He said, “Whoever has looted the wealth of the nation should be held accountable regardless of their stature and position. The NAB must conduct across-the-board accountability.”