The Chief Justice has ended his silence since the Panama decision and responded to the constant criticism the court has been the target of from Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N). Addressing the opening ceremony of New Judicial Year 2017-18, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar reminded the public that the judges do not write judgments to settle scores but hand them out as an aspirational symbol of justice.

The Chief Justice also stressed the supremacy of the constitution and the role of the independence of judiciary in upholding it. To act in accordance with law and constitutional scheme, Saqib Nisar stated that the judges must be independent from all kinds of influences from any side, be it executive or by any other person or authority in the echelons of power; a point which could be taken as referencing the pressure being put on the judiciary by PML-N and the perceived pressure put on it by the establishment.

These statements come after a month of increased verbal attacks on the judiciary and the Supreme Court, especially by PMLN and Nawaz Sharif. In a rally campaigning for her mother’s seat in NA-120, Maryam Nawaz called the July 28th Panama decision of the Supreme Court a “joke” and underwhelmed the importance of the judiciary, saying it as the “people’s court” that mattered.

Admittedly, Panama Papers decision was by no means perfect and has been criticized by lawyers and politicians alike. However, PMLN is making a fundamental mistake in undermining the importance of the judiciary and by degrading the judges by suggesting bias.

A lot of the problems faced by the judiciary in doing their duty were addressed by speakers and bar members themselves at the event. The Chief Justice pointed out the weakness of institutions as a problem that affected the judiciary’s ability to work effectively and independently. Lawyers and judges also pointed to undue influence on the judiciary, sometimes from the government, to get in the way of fair proceedings. Even the Attorney General has lamented the harmful role of the media in misrepresentation of facts and transforming a parallel ‘people’s court’ to unfairly pressurize the judiciary.

To truly bring justice, PML- N should not focus on technicalities and loopholes in the Panama judgment but attempt to solve the very real and structural issues that the judiciary faces and that were outlined in the judgment itself. Perhaps Nawaz should heed his former Interior Minister’s advice and go about in his struggle for justice without attacking the emblem of justice in the country.