Anarchists demand a destruction of the infrastructure and a complete overhaul of the modus operndi. Such is sought for the romantic vigor of a revolution, an impatience towards organic evolution or simply destruction. 

Schedules work. They simply do. Even those who insist that they are creative, need some form of system to work effectively. Schedules and systematic norms keep one’s expectations to the minimal and make things more predictable. And, predictable is good. It mitigates confusion. It allows for a trend to establish and grow; and to alter the trend- marginally- if need be.

Napoleon famously said (paraphrasing here) that battlefields were chaotic and it was always the one who succeeded to manage the chaos who came out as a victor. In that sense, the arguments of the anarchist towards the overhaul seem like a poor judgement for, instead of controlling the chaos, they inevitably contribute to it. In that respect, it is self-explanatory that I insist that systems that have evolved out of careful understanding of what work(ed), that have been open to upgrade or need upgrade, and have avenues where the upgrade can in fact take place, need not be broken. It just increases the amount of work otherwise. It’s as simple as that.

Saqib Nisar’s tenure was as chaotic as the numerous decades spent under military rule: a Pakistan where institutions stand confused on their spread and influence. Such a Pakistan is a difficult country to live in. There is much confusion. Case in point, a layman could wonder if the job of policing was for the police or was it for the CJP? And, wasn’t it the role of the Chief Executive of the Nation, the Prime Minister, to get the country together and work on unison or was it the CJP’s responsibility to start the dam fund? Was it the job of the IG to make sure that Sharukh Jatoi was serving the sentence he deserves or was it the job of the CJP?

Pakistanis, as do others, like heroes. We see them on the TV and we want them to exist within us; or in us. At times, such aspirations are good. Some would fall in love with the unmatched altruism of Edhi and would want to spread his message of humanism. But, others, and indeed a majority, would find themselves in the reflection of Superman becoming instead stupid Zamaruds wearing blanket capes. As a result, we might end up ‘solving’ a problem but, more often than not, we end up either incurring a great opportunity cost or increase more problems.

The need to be a hero, a messiah, precedes Imran Khan who is indeed the messiah of messiahness. Before him, we’ve had leaders such as Ayub Khan, Bhutto, Zia, Musharaff; each seeking to break the system because they thought they had better solution. At the end, as history tells, they created many more problems for Pakistan and their plans fell short of achieving most of what they sought.

As bleak as it may sound, the CJP’s efforts that were incredible media bites, won’t do anything for Pakistan. For, and it seems he failed to understand this, systems cannot be altered top-down. In fact, it is essential that the changes that occur are organic and bottom up. I’ve often quoted Foucault in this space, and I’ll use him again to insist that true government is only possible when the imageries of the building blocks resonates with the final structure. A top to down approach is simply like painting a hollow core. Soon, it will shatter.

And this is what will remain as the legacy of CJP Nisar. There are over 2m cases pending in the courts. If anything, the CJP Nisar was first and foremost the head of the judicial system. As he leaves his position, his performance can be summarized as someone who was too distracted with other things to do the job he was hired to do. And, unfortunately, as much as the CJP Nisar wanted people to re-establish their faith in the concept of justice, he leaves the institution that is supposed to guarantee that, as miserable as when he took the reins.

 I have much faith in CJP Khosa though. I’ve always found his lyrical judgments very amusing. But, my most favourite product remains his extra note on the concluding trial of Aasia Bibi. We need a man of his calm composure but sharp analytical capabilities to lead the judicial system. His speech in the full court reference for the outgoing CJP offers much relief: ‘Suo moto notices will be taken sparingly’, he said, insisting that he would try to ‘retire the debt of pending cases’. That’s a good start. Fingers crossed for now.


The writer is a Dissertation Researcher based in Finland. He conducts research on political, regional and societal changes with special focus on religious minorities in Europe.