The Gag Order

2018-04-16T23:59:25+05:00

It seems that the Superior Judiciary and the PML-N are engaged in a perpetual bout of fistcuffs, an absurd and drawn out judicio-political saga that insults the bearing of the office of both the executive and the judiciary. The ‘temporary’ ban on the anti-judicial speeches by Nawaz and Maryam is yet another manifestation of the courts apparent vendetta against PML-N, extending its fixation with the besieged party to a more personal level.

The right to criticise and call into question the decisions and actions of the jury, is the democratic right of every citizen under freedom of expression. The scrutiny of judicial actions in the court of public opinion is the sign of a free and progressive society, and allows for redemptive checks and balances in all facets of the polity. The court’s reasoning - the lawyers and experts are better suited to criticising judicial decisions – is not only clearly unreasonable but offends against common sense.

The commandeering of PEMRA’s authority to cap airtime to the party, especially this close to the upcoming election, toes the line of using the trope of contempt as a gag order and a derailing mechanism.

It is indeed tragic that the state’s leadership seeks to question the legitimacy of the judiciary in harsh words in the wake of erroneous threats, as such political parties too should be reminded to exercise restraint in their magniloquence; where the criticism of the judiciary is their right, disparagement and delegitimistaion is not; the court of law and its superior judiciary has to be accorded due respect as the veneration of that office upholds law and order in a country.

Yet, where debates over the judicialisation of politics keep making rounds and ensuing denigration of the judiciary has become a go-to political rhetoric in a bid to negate the recent rulings of the judiciary, it is a fact that the judicial system has been manically fixated on unequivocally discrediting the PML-N. Where it can be argued that the judicial system is exercising due diligence in rooting out alleged corruption, the stoicism exhibited in giving the censorious case unabated focus gives the confrontation between the judiciary and the political party a personal hue. This ban in particular is flawed by malignance and needs to be withdrawn. Where the judges have indeed suffered countless threats and harsh rhetoric, such ruling negates the judicial prerequisite to exercise objectivity in its judgment, untainted by knee-jerk retaliatory actions.

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