CHIEF Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is absolutely right, and the views he expressed about the way for the democratic system in the country to take root, deserve to be carefully noted by the authorities, which have repeatedly warned of the looming conspiracies to weaken it. Adherence to the rule of law and recognition of the supremacy of the Constitution, Chief Justice Chaudhry stressed, while addressing a group of lawyers at Peshawar on Sunday, would strengthen the nascent system. And the assumption that the Supreme Court had designs to weaken the democratic system was way off the mark. A product of a popular, lawyers-led movement - in the sense that the deposed judges were restored as a consequence of that democratic struggle - the judiciary could not be expected to be working to derail it. Rather, deviation from the rule of law would spoil our struggle for independence of judiciary. The CJ, who had gone to Peshawar to condole the recent murder of a prominent lawyer and former Advocate General, Muhammad Sardar Khan, addressed several other issues concerning the dispensation of justice that a delegation of local lawyers meeting him had raised. He apprised them of the measures that the SC was taking to recover the missing persons and suggested that the provincial government would do well to set up special courts under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 for this purpose. When the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui was brought to his notice, he maintained the SC had no jurisdiction over affairs in the US. While not denying the importance of these issues, it must be acknowledged that there are difficulties in their satisfactory disposal. However, for the two other questions - the observance of the rule of law and the appointment of judges - that he touched on there can be no such excuses. For instance, in the scrupulous compliance of judicial verdicts, lies the recognition of the sanctity of the rule of law and the Constitution. The attention inevitably turns to the governments dillydallying tactics in implementing the court ruling declaring the NRO null and void. It must realise that it is hardly the way to strengthen the democratic system; on the contrary, it strikes at the root of it.. The situation is similar with the undue delay in the appointment of judges in accordance with constitutional provisions. On top of that, the growing backlog of cases underlines the need for more judges on the benches to deal with them. It is time the government reoriented its thinking about what is the crying need of the hour that would best serve the national interest.