Protecting Constitution Our Job, Leaders Should Defend Court Orders, Says Pakistan Chief Justice Amid Imran Khan’s Criticism

As Imran Khan questioned Pakistan Supreme Court’s judgment that paved the way for his ouster, the country’s Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Monday said it’s their responsibility to protect the Constitution and that national leaders should defend court orders.

Bandial further said that Supreme Court judges were not bothered by the social media campaigns or political speeches against them and that they were only doing their duty as the guardians of the Constitution.

Hearing a presidential reference seeking the apex court’s interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, Bandial wondered why the Supreme Court should deal with political matters when its decisions are criticized at political rallies.

He said, “Why should we announce the verdicts when 10-15,000 people start criticizing judicial orders. Why should the court take part in your political debates? We expect political leaders to defend judicial orders in public.”

The chief justice’s comments came in the wake of Imran Khan asking the judiciary to explain why doors of the courts were opened around midnight on April 9 – hours before he was removed from prime minister’s office through a no-confidence motion.

Before the trust vote, Khan had lost the majority in the National Assembly after the defection of his allies. However, he tried to bypass the trust vote by getting the no confidence motion rejected, following which he got the parliament dissolved and called fresh elections. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the rejection of the no confidence motion and dissolution of the parliament were unconstitutional.

In his first public address after being removed from office, Khan had directly addressed the judiciary and asked, “My dear judges, my judiciary, I have spent time in jail because of your freedom because I dream that one day the judiciary would stand with the weak people of society, and not the powerful. I ask you, what crime had I exactly committed that you opened up the courts at midnight? “

The Pakistan Chief Justice, without naming anyone in particular, remarked that the apex court should be respected. He said, “The court fulfills its constitutional responsibilities. National leaders should defend court decisions.

“We are cursed for doing our jobs and protecting the Constitution. Why should the court get involved in your political matters? The court works 24 hours. No one has the need to raise a finger on the court proceedings.”

Reacting to the chief justice’s remarks, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said the court needed to “rethink” its stance. He said on Twitter, “No where in the world courts decide political questions and policy, courts in Pak must learn to stay away from politics, midnight courts will not get respect anyways.”

With PTI inputs

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