As the government is reported to have prevented the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from taking action against any government functionary, in compliance with the Supreme Court verdict on the Rental Power Projects (RPPs), another clash between the Executive and the Judiciary appears to be inevitably in the making. Already, the government stands accused of defying the court in its disregard of its judgments on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), the Haj scandal and several other issues. The latest attempt at stalling implementation of the court's ruling about the RPPs under the pretext that the government and the RPPs intend appealing against it is contrary to the principle that necessitates immediate compliance with judicial verdicts. The court can, however, issue orders holding its earlier decision in abeyance, but only if it feels, after hearing the appeal, that the action appears to be serving the cause of justice. According to some sources, NAB has maintained that it has not yet received any written order from the apex court, which is necessary before any action is taken.

From the judicial end, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has categorically reaffirmed that the court would not permit ‘any subversion of the rule of law’. “No one would be allowed to rise above the law”, he asserted. Justice Chaudhry was not reacting, though, to the report that NAB has been directed not to take action on the RPPs judgment. He was addressing an event held by the Peshawar High Court Bar Association. But, the contradictory stands of the two vital institutions of the state underline, on the one hand, the government’s persistent defiance of judicial verdicts and, on the other, the Supreme Court’s unflagging efforts to uphold the rule of law. To add weight to his argument, if at all that was necessary, Justice Chaudhry laid emphasis on the creation of a social order in which no one could remain above the law.

Though the government never misses an opportunity to claim that it would not let a clash of institutions to take place, it openly defies the judiciary, which is in violation of specific constitutional provisions enjoining its obedience. The defiance has already resulted in contempt proceedings against the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, the ruling leadership is not mindful of the serious ramifications of its refusal to obey the law for the society as a whole that is already under great stress over the government’s failure to protect life and property. Unless the government reverses its position about the role of the judiciary in governance, the law and order situation would worsen.