The Judiciary of Pakistan and its Role in Political Crisis

The Judiciary of Pakistan and its Role in Political Crisis

By Syed Sami Ahmad

A Review by Mirza Ashraf:


Though I have been reading articles and books about Pakistan’s historical, political and current problems, but it is only because of Syed Sami Ahmad Sahib’s book The Judiciary of Pakistan and its role in Political Crisis, that I have known and understood the root of present crisis in Pakistan. This book reveals the dismal state of the most prestigious institution of judiciary in Pakistan and the disastrous role of some of the Justices and Chief Justices that started soon after the death of the first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. Before reading this book, I would sometimes blame the politicians, sometimes the Army Generals and at another time the people of Pakistan for all the problems in the country. But now I believe that the root of the crisis in Pakistan is because of a wrong tradition of injustice and favoritism for personal gains laid by the Judges and Chief Justices of Pakistan. They forgot and many of them are still forgetting that human societies are established on Truth, Justice and Hard work. Societies disappear as a group or a nation when there is no justice.


Sami Sahib in this book has daringly exposed the disastrous role played by the 2nd Chief Justice after the creation of Pakistan, Chief Justice Munir by unjustly empowering Governor General Ghulam Muhammad who had dissolved the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, a sovereign body which could make and unmake laws, on October 24, 1954. Maulvi Tamizuddin, being the President (what is Speaker today) of the Assembly filed a petition against Ghulam Muhammad’s unconstitutional act. The historic judgment of the Chief Court of Sindh (what is High Court today) restored Maulvi Tamizuddin. But Ghulam Muhammad, after transferring and retiring the rightful Justices, picked up a junior person, Justice Munir as the Chief Justice of the Federal Court. Justice Munir and his companion Judges at the behest of Ghulam Muhammad, over ruled the judgment of the Chief Court of Sindh. In order to strengthen Ghulam Muhammad’s grip, Justice Munir laid the foundation of the most vicious “Law of Necessity” for which the whole nation had to pay the price that plunged the whole nation into chaos and crisis. This clearly tells that a civilian Governor General, and an unjust Chief Justice, are responsible in blocking the road to democracy in Pakistan and at the same time opening the door for the army dictators to step in. I am in shock to know what Sami Sahib has cited about Justice Nasim Hasan Shah saying, “So long the army rule is there, no judge can afford to be independent. No judge would like to be crucified.” What an irony that in the first place it was a Chief Justice who introduced the Law of Necessity and paved way for the Generals to derail the democracy and scrap or suspend constitution of the country, and now another Chief Justice is showing his helplessness to stand for justice. I am here reminded of six lines of a poem from the Arabian Nights, which I quote here:


When the unjust judge

Without justice judges,

Horrible, horrible things are done;

But more horrible things are done

When justice judges

The unjust judge.                    (The Arabian Nights)


The Judiciary of Pakistan and its Role in Political Crisis, as I view, is not just a history of unjust and just judges and of many disastrous decisions which has brought that nation to current crisis, it is rather a “Ruling of justice judging the unjust judges.” I wonder, if Syed Sami Ahmad Sahib, an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and a President of Sindh High Court Bar Association, can stand against the Generals like, Ayub, Yahya, Zia, and Musharraf, and against the corrupt political rulers and did not bow before the unjust judges of the highest courts, how come these Judges and Chief Justices cowed by the dictators would judge unjustly. During the book launching ceremony moderated by Brother Mahfooz ur Rehman attended by another distinguished member of Thinkers Forum Dr. Riaz Chaudhary on December 22, we watched a very daring speech by Syed Sami Sahib as a President of the Sindh High Court Bar Association addressing a gathering of the lawyers in the presence of Prime Minister Juneju, openly condemning the Martial Law without fearing the dictator General Zia.


Chapter 14 of this book on Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah vs Syed Sami Ahmad, President of Sindh High Court Bar Association, relates a very interesting story of the courage and bold stand of Sami Sahib for the sake of truth. It is a rebuke to Nasim Hasan Shah’s remark, “So long the army rule is there, no judge can afford to be independent. No judge would like to be crucified.” I would dare to add a line in Khalil Gibran’s famous poem, “Pity the nation where a Chief Justice is the servant of a dictator.” For sure, only honest and unselfish sons of a nation show courage to stand before a dictator, even if they have to pay the price of their life.


حرف ِ حق  باعث ِ آزار  ہے اشرف  لیکن
دیکھ اُنکو جو سچائی کا جنوں رکھتے ہیں
بات ممبر پہ کہیں ۔ دار پہ سمجھاتے ہیں

زندگی رشکِ صداقت کا ستوں رکھتے ہیں


The incident is related as Sindh Police under the patronage of Pakistan People’s Party’s Chief Minister of Sindh Abdullah Shah, had trespassed into the premises of Karachi Bar Association, firing, shelling, stoning and assaulting the lawyers including lady members. Sami Sahib received an SOS telephone-message describing the grave situation, which had never happened before in the history of any of the Bar Associations of Pakistan. He immediately summoned the meeting of the members in which it was unanimously decided that as President of the Bar he should contact the Chief Minister of Sindh to stop police’s firing and shelling. Many attempts to contact the Chief Minister proved futile. It was decided to meet the Chief Justice Hafeez Memon of the High Court of Sindh to seek his help. The Chief Justice was in the tea room and did not respond to many messages that there was an emergency and the members of Bar were waiting anxiously for him. The situation was becoming bad to worse because of firing and shelling. Sami Sahib immediately left for the chamber of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Sajjad Ali Shah and entered in where he saw him relaxing on a sofa, and Chief Justice Hafeez Memon and the Attorney General of Pakistan sitting there sipping cups of tea. As soon as he entered the chamber, he requested Hafeez Memon to grant the Bar members immediate audience and help stop the brutalities of the police. The Chief Justice of Pakistan told Hafeez Memon to go immediately to his chamber meet the members who were helped and their request was granted to speak with the Chief Minister of Sindh who invited them to meet him in his office. Sami Sahib met him on emergency basis which though proved to be an exercise in futility except that firing and shelling did not occur thereafter.


Sami Sahib’s effort to save human lives brought the result of a show cause notice served to him and three other Supreme court lawyers for forcing an entry into the chamber of the Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah who was relaxing on a sofa. Sami Sahib fought his case to prove that there was no breach of law and as a President of the Bar, it was his lawful as well as moral duty to do whatever was necessary in emergency situation to save the lives of those who were being fired at, shelled, and stoned. Still Sami Sahib was asked to say sorry for entering the Chief Justice’s Chamber, which he as an honest and brave person refused to say. Consequently, another Justice, Muhammad Munir Khan arrived at about 9:00 am and after giving an order against Sami Sahib flew back in the evening. Sami Sahib and two of his colleagues, without being heard were suspended from the practice of the Supreme Court for a period of two years.


I believe that the unjust justices, who rise unfairly to highest posts, are innerly abased by a guilty complex. They know that they cowed, bowed and submitted themselves for personal greed before the dictatorial powers, and thus by forcing every other just and honest person to submit to them they seek a satisfaction for their own guilt. This is what the Qur’an clearly invokes, “The unjust people follow their selfish desires without any knowledge.” Interestingly another Justice, Abdul Razzak, later on told Sami Sahib that Justice Munir Khan was repenting for not giving Sami Sahib an opportunity of being heard. “Ha’ay us zood pasheman ka pashaman hona.”


I could not help expressing my dard-e-dil, summed up in a short Urdu Ghazal, which I believe was more intense and painful for Syed Sami Ahmad Sahib while writing this book. Arising from my heart and mind, this Ghazal, on the footsteps of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, relates the pathetic and distressing state of Pakistani nation’s sufferings. I am now convinced that it is because of the unjust judges and chief justices in Pakistan, daringly exposed with proofs and full references, in the book, The Judiciary of Pakistan and its Role in Political Crisis, that the whole nation is in dilapidated state.


روسیاہ منصف و حَاکِم کی جو روداد آئی
جانِ شوریدہ سے انصاف کی فریاد آئی
کلمہء صدق و صفا لب پہ گنہگار ہوا
کوئے ایوان ِ عدل میں شب ِ بیداد آئی
شرمسار طوق و رسن دار و زنجیر ہوئے
چلتے پھرتے ہوئے مقتل کی جو ایجاد آئی
کیوں ہوا قتل نہ مقتول نہ قاتل کو خبر
قتل ِانصاف سے یوں صَرصَر برباد آئی
دورِ آمر ہو یا جمہوری مگر دیکھ اشرف

سخن و تحریرِ سمیع  سے شرح آزاد آئی


Mirza Ashraf


Other Books by Syed Sami Ahmad Sahib:


1. Struggle Against Martial Law

2. The Judgment That Brought Disaster (Tamizuddin Khan Case)

3. The End of Muslim Rule in India

4. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan: The Saviour of Muslim India

5. History of Pakistan and Role of The Army

6. The Trial of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and The Superior Judiciary In Pakistan


One thought on “The Judiciary of Pakistan and its Role in Political Crisis

  1. I commend and appreciate the in-depth analysis of Mr. Syed Sami Ahmed’s book, “The Judiciary of Pakistan and its Role in Political Crisi” by Mirza Ashraf sahib. I think Mirza sahib is right in saying that the causes for the problems of Pakistan is a corrupt judiciary. Had Justice Munir not subverted the law, and had he not supported the abusive autucrat, Ghulam Mohammed, the history of Pakistan would have been different. Pakistan could have a good constitution much soomer and firmly set on the path to a stable and strong democracy. A country where there is no rule of law and justice is doomed. I want to congratulate Mirza sahib for his good analysis and logical presentation.

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