Pakistan’s judiciary works “independently” and faces “no pressure” from anyone, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said today, rejecting the ruling PML-N’s allegations that the Supreme Court was against the party and ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Chief Justice’s remarks have come a day after a number of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ministers, including Sharif’s daughter Maryam, hit out at the apex court for giving a clean chit to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan in a corruption case. The court yesterday rejected a petition seeking the disqualification of cricketer-turned-politician Khan in a foreign funding case, but ruled against his close aide. “Don’t hurl abuses at judiciary when a decision comes against you. If a decision comes against you, you start abusing the judiciary and alleging that it (judiciary) has become a part of a design or a grand plan,” Nisar said at a seminar here, without naming Sharif or the ruling party. Sharif and his close aides have constantly been targeting the Supreme Court judges since July 28 when the apex court disqualified the former Prime Minister in the Panama Papers case. The 67-year-old Sharif has called the judges ‘biased’ and alleged that his disqualification was part of a design prepared by some someone else, a reference to the military establishment. The Chief Justice said those who get a judgement which they think is unfavourable have the right to criticise it but they should avoid targeting the judiciary. “We work independently and honestly. We have no pressure from any one. No one can dictate to the court,” he said, adding that if someone had dictated to the judges, the Hudaibya judgement would have been different.
The Hudaibya case was against the Sharif’s family, especially Sharif’s younger brother Shahbaz Sharif who was accused of money laundering to the tune of Rs 1.2 billion to the UK. The Supreme Court yesterday rejected the country’s anti- graft body National Accountability Bureau’s plea to re-open the case. “All the judges are independent and can take their own decisions. The maligning of judiciary has to be stopped now,” Nisar said. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said the Chief Justice of Pakistan had given a “befitting response” to the PMLN and Sharif’s allegations on judiciary. “The CJP has given a befitting response to the ruling party’s efforts to malign the judiciary,” he said.
The yesterday’s verdict was the second major case involving the leader of a leading political party. Earlier, the Supreme Court had disqualified Sharif in July for corruption, leading to his ouster. Khan, a former Pakistani cricket captain, retired in 1992. He founded the political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 1996.