Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Mian Saqib Nisar, who is painstakingly struggling to revamp the administration system of Pakistan, felt it necessary to speak his mind over China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The public did not know that Saqib Nisar, the honourable Chief of the Apex Judiciary, also holds command and expertise on how mega projects should be executed. Thanks to the 8th Judicial Conference 2018, organised by the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan under the auspices of the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) that we are now aware of the fact that CJP wears so many feathers on his hat.
However, with his comments and reservations that he has shown while speaking to the audience, it seems that CJP cares little for the principle of separation of power. It is not difficult to understand what compelled him to remark, “that a serious dialogue and deliberation was required to assess the pros and cons of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project keeping its legal, social, cultural and economic aspects in view…” A few days back he was heard stating that the judiciary was intervening in government matters, as the latter was not doing the needful. Hence he felt it necessary to take up the subject without thinking for a moment that it was more than interference in the functions of other organs of state.
CJP’s concerns over the subject are valid if he raises them as an ordinary citizen of the country. However, him taking up the subject while addressing the judicial conference as CJP goes far beyond interference. His comments on CPEC can be seen as a head of state-level decision. The only inference that one can draw from his position on the mega infrastructural project is that he wants a reversal of national policy with international actors involved. One could have defended CJP had he taken a notice on any aspect of the project arguing that an individual had brought something to court’s attention under public interest litigation. However, it was not the case.
CJP needs to reign himself. CPEC is in the domain of the government. If the government wants the expert opinion of the Apex Court on any aspect of the project, only then the court shall do so. It is needless to say that CPEC is one of the integral elements of government’s policy. Instead of exhausting himself with issues that should not be of his concern, Nisar’s real service to the country will be if can provide a solution to clear up the backlogging of cases and delays in delivering justice to the people.