Long live the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court!

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court

I have always been an admirer of the Pathans. These people, though poor, prefer death to dishonour and slavery. Their country ( presently much of Afghanistan and north-western Pakistan called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly known as NWFP ) was invaded by Alexander the Great, as well as the mightiest Empires in the world--- the Moghul Empire, the British Empire, the Russians, and the Americans, but they never surrendered.

Today a reign of terror has been unleashed by the army and police in Pakistan, over 12,000 people having been arrested on false, trumped up, charges after the events of 9th May ( which many believe were stage managed ), and incarcerated in jail in inhuman conditions for long periods.

Most of the Pakistan judges, who have taken an oath to uphold the Pakistan Constitution, and whose solemn duty is to protect the fundamental rights of the people enshrined in Part 2 of the Constitution, particularly the right to life and liberty ( in article 9 ), have turned a Nelson's eye to the gross and open violation of these rights in Pakistan.

For instance, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa, prefers hearing old, infructuous, and meaningless cases in whom no one is interested, e.g. the cases of the long-dead former Prime Minister Bhutto and Gen Musharraf, and the Faizabad dharna case, instead of hearing pressing matters which call for early hearing, such as habeas corpus petitions and bail applications of detenues in jail.

One had therefore lost hope in the Pakistan judiciary, and started regarding the Pakistani judges as impotent rubber stamps, who only care for their salaries, perks and pensions. As long as they are assured of that, they will do the biddings of the Establishment, like a modern Judge Jeffreys or the Nazi Roland Freisler, and turn a blind eye to the wrongful incarceration of thousands in Pakistan, and other illegalities

The bold statements of the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court, Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, while granting bail late at night to Zartaj Gul, former Minister in Imran Khan's cabinet, were therefore like rain falling on a parched land, and in my opinion only a Pathan like Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan could be fearless enough to give such statements.

Chief Justice Ibrahim Khan said that the doors of the Court will be open all day and night, and he will hear a call for justice even at 2 or 3 a.m. He said that he would rather resign than fail to do justice.
While the image of CJP Qazi Faez Isa has sunk to the lowest level in Pakistan, that of the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court has gone up sky-high throughout the nation.

Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan has proved he is a real Pathan, a true and worthy descendant of his brave ancestors who took on Alexander the Great, the mighty Moghuls, the British, the Russians, and the Americans, but never surrendered.

Long live the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court !

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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