Mahmood Adeel in his piece last week made an interesting observation about our Chief Justice regarding his son’s case. He pointed out that it seemed CJ had already made up his mind regarding the outcome of the case and it sounded as if he was leading the witnesses to “provide the testimony needed to give the decision already made”. This made me think that other controversial cases are also facing problems of credibility due to lack of transparency and questions of undue influence at the outset of the case.
A similar incident that can be linked to the idea of whether the CJP is influencing a trial outcome already decided is the neverending memogate case. While there have been many questions regarding the special treatment granted to Mansur Ejaz and his secret meetings with top agency officials, the Chief Justice has also found himself at the center of controversy about the contents of a secret letter Mansur Ejaz sent to the CJP and the Supreme court during the memogate saga. As reported by various newspapers earlier this year, Ejaz sent a letter to the CJ the contents of which Chief Justice wanted to remain sealed. Next thing, Masur Ejaz was permitted to give his testimony via video link from London and Husain Haqqani was permitted to leave Pakistan. Many are now asking about the contents of this top secret letter known only to Mansur Ejaz and the CJP which appears to have changed the course of the case.
Today, this question becomes even more alarming with media reporting that the Chief Justice is forming a bench for hearings on memogate charges based on a sealed probe report by the memo commission. First a secret letter influences the Court, now a secret report constitutes a larger bench. If justice is truly being served why is it being done in the dark behind closed doors?
The higher judiciary which has been considered as the institution devoted to impartial justice has found itself facing criticism for the CJP’s hesitancy to remove himself from hearing a case against his own son, and even then only after giving remarks that could influence the outcome of the case. This combined with the noted lack of dissent on the bench and the lack of transparency in memogate casew have created doubts about whether the Supreme Court is following the constitution or whether it has become the private tribunal of one man.